The first round of the American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship in Hartford, Connecticut on March 9 was a nail-biter.
At the end of the first half, USF had 29 points, while the UConn Huskies had 42. But the Bulls came out swinging, beginning the second half with an impressive 10-2 run that slowed the Huskies’ offense to a crawl.
With less than five minutes left in the match, the Bulls closed in on the Huskies. USF trailed by only two points with less than three minutes left in the game.
Unfortunately, the UConn team found its temporarily-lost rhythm and snuffed the Bulls out. The Huskies scored 10 more points and only allowed the Bulls to score just one more.
The Bulls played with courage and valor while taking on UConn but fell short at the end of the game by a score of 77-66. USF shot a field-goal percentage of 41.4 percent, while junior guard Geno Thorpe (pictured above) finished the game with 23 points, making him the second highest scorer on the court, in addition to having six assists.
Other notable efforts by the Bulls include freshman guard Michael Bibby, who scored 13 points; junior center Ruben Guerrero, who finished with seven points and four rebounds; and redshirt freshman forward Tulio Da Silva, who scored 10 points and snatched seven rebounds.
South Florida finished the season with just seven wins and 23 losses, and with recent postseason changes, the future is uncertain.
Thorpe, who averaged 15 points per game as the Bulls’ leading scorer, announced that he will not return to the program next year. Thorpe transferred to USF last year from Penn State.
It’s unclear whether Thorpe will seek another college destination or enter the NBA Draft.
He and guard Troy Holston were recently left sleeping in a Texas airport as the rest of the Bulls team traveled home from a road game. The incident drew national attention when Holston’s mother took to Twitter to call the entire USF program “terrible.”
Aside from Thorpe’s departure, most players on the Bulls roster expect to return.
USF fired head coach Orlando Antigua in January. He held a 23-55 record. While searching for a replacement, USF appointed Murry Bartow, who fared even worse. Bartow finished up the season with just one win and 16 more losses.
Last week, USF Athletics announced the new hire of Brian Gregory as head coach. He previously coached Dayton and Georgia Tech. He has 250 wins as head coach under his belt; a far cry from Antigua’s paltry record.
With this veteran acquisition, it’s hopeful that in years to come, the Bulls could be strong contenders for the American Athletic Championship and even the March Madness tournament.
Photo courtesy of The Oracle