USF Faces Final Road Test at Houston

TAMPA – In its final road test of the season, the USF men’s basketball team will play at Houston on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET.

USF (12-17, 3-13 American) is coming off a 74-73 loss at Rutgers on Saturday, its sixth consecutive loss. With just one game remaining after Tuesday, each becomes important to the seeding for the American Athletic Conference Championships, held March 12-15 in Memphis, Tenn. USF is currently tied with UCF (11-16, 3-13 American) for eighth place while Temple (7-21, 2-14 American) is in 10th. All three teams are guaranteed to play in the first round of the conference championships on March 12.

Houston (15-17, 7-9 American) is currently in sixth place in the conference after winning its last three games. One win or one Rutgers loss would clinch the No. 6 seed and a first-round bye for Houston.

USF’s Victor Rudd has played his best basketball of the season recently averaging 22.0 points and 9.0 rebounds over the past four games. He joins Houston’s TaShawn Thomas and UCF’s Isaiah Sykes as the only players ranked in the top 10 in the conference in scoring and rebounding.

Rudd currently ranks 13th in career scoring at USF and is 21 points from No. 12, Jessie Salters (1,177).

It will be senior night for Houston’s Jimmie Jones, Brandon Morris, Lawrence Paye, J.J. Richardson and Tione Womack. Junior forward TaShawn Thomas posted 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting in Houston’s 89-79 win at Temple on Saturday. He leads the Cougars with 16.0 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game.

The all-time series is tied 10-10 with the Cougars holding a 5-4 advantage in Houston. The teams last met on Jan. 4 resulting in a 67-58 win by Houston in Tampa.

A nine-point deficit turned into a 15-point lead which resulted in a one-point loss by USF at Rutgers by the score of 74-73 on Saturday at The RAC. Rudd scored a game-high 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting including 4-of-7 from 3-point range. He also had nine rebounds to give the Bulls the edge on the glass 39-28.                                                                            

It was below freezing outside in Piscataway, N.J. on March 1, but the Bulls were hot from beyond-the-arc. USF shot 55.6 percent (5-of-9) thanks to a 4-of-7 effort from Victor Rudd. Zach LeDay was 1-for-1 to help the Bulls shoot its best percentage from three-point range since shooting 61.5 percent (8-of-13) against Vermont on Nov. 12, 2011.                                                                                     

When USF scored 54 points in the paint at UCF, it was the most since recording 54 on Feb. 27, 2010 in a 99-93 win by the Bulls. When USF defeated SMU 78-71 on Jan. 28, it was the first time the Mustang’s had been outscored in the paint all season (38-28). The Bulls have outscored their opponents down low 954-839 on the season.                                                                                             

Through 29 games, the Bulls have recorded 116 dunks, an average of 4.0 per game. Freshman John Egbunu has led the rim-rattling with 47 dunks (page 7). The only game in which USF did not recorded a dunk was on Jan. 4 against Houston. By comparison, FGCU “Dunk City” threw down 148 dunks last season in 37 games, an average of 4.0 per game.

Martino Brock and Victor Rudd play their final homes games in USF’s regular season finale, senior day, on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Temple.

SOURCE: USF Athletics