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Thursday, Jul 24, 2014

Turnover-prone Bulls stumble in Las Vegas


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LAS VEGAS — The University of South Florida played Sunday night without point guard Anthony Collins, who was nursing a lingering left knee injury. That floor leadership was missed. The Bulls committed 18 turnovers, a season-high, in a 71-66 loss against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the Las Vegas Classic at Orleans Arena.

USF (8-3) faces the loser of the late UNLV-Santa Clara game tonight at 8. Mississippi State improved to 9-2.

The Bulls, who had won four consecutive games by a total of nine points, were entangled in another close contest. USF coach Stan Heath said his team didn’t do enough little things.

“It’s easy to say (USF missed Collins),” Heath said. “The next guy just has to step up. Obviously, when one of your better ball-handlers is out of the game, the turnovers really get magnified. We still could’ve won this game for a lot of different reasons. We had breakdowns at the wrong times. We just didn’t get the job done.”

Trailing 60-58, USF’s Martino Brock seemingly had the opening for a layup. But he opted for a one-handed pass back to center John Egbunu, who mishandled it. Mississippi State’s Fred Thomas promptly converted a 3-pointer.

Then, after Corey Allen Jr. (16 points) made two free throws with 1:05 remaining to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 67-64, he stole a pass at midcourt. But Allen’s lob pass was intercepted and he immediately committed a foul, his fifth.

SOUTH FLORIDA (8-3) — Brock 3-7 2-4 8, Rudd 7-15 0-1 17, Allen Jr. 3-8 8-8 16, Egbunu 1-2 0-0 2, Perry 6-10 2-2 14, Abdul-Aleem 0-0 0-0 0, LeDay 0-2 0-0 0, McLendon 1-3 0-0 2, Hawkins 3-5 0-0 7. Totals 24-52 12-15 66.

MISSISSIPPI ST. (9-2) — Applewhite 2-3 2-3 6, Borchert 2-7 6-8 11, Ready 3-7 2-2 8, Ware 4-8 2-4 10, Sword 5-10 0-2 10, Thomas 4-8 2-2 14, Bloodman 1-1 0-0 2, Cunningham 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 4-11 2-4 10. Totals 25-55 16-25 71.

Halftime—Mississippi St. 38-35. 3-Point Goals—South Florida 6-15 (Rudd 3-7, Allen Jr. 2-4, Hawkins 1-1, LeDay 0-1, Brock 0-1, McLendon 0-1), Mississippi St. 5-14 (Thomas 4-7, Borchert 1-5, Sword 0-1, Johnson 0-1). Fouled Out—Allen Jr., Johnson. Rebounds—South Florida 31 (Rudd 11), Mississippi St. 32 (Ware 15). Assists—South Florida 11 (Allen Jr. 4), Mississippi St. 12 (Ready 7). Total Fouls—South Florida 19, Mississippi St. 17. A—1,530.

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