It was only a cross-city exhibition game against the University of Tampa, but the University of South Florida men's basketball team looked to have a sharper edge than in years past.
The Bulls displayed a high-octane offense and tough defense to pick up a 75-43 win against the Spartans on Saturday night at the Bob Martinez Sports Center, which will host three regular-season games for South Florida while upgrades to USF's Sun Dome are worked on.
"We're just trying to get ready for our season and work on the things we do in practice," Bulls coach Stan Heath said. "I thought, for the most part, we ran our stuff. We had good tempo and good pace to the game, and defended pretty well."
Point guard play, one of the Bulls' biggest question marks heading into the season, was a strength, as neither starter LeVonte Dority nor backup Blake Nash turned the ball over.
"I didn't see any turnovers, and that's the biggest thing," Heath said. "I thought they made good decisions out there on the floor and they were solid."
The only major worry for the Bulls as they look ahead to Saturday's regular-season opener against Vermont is 15-for-32 free throw shooting.
Senior forward Augustus Gilchrist led the way offensively for the Bulls, with 21 points, while Ron Anderson Jr., Shaun Noriega and Victor Rudd Jr. added 11 points each. Rudd, who had a few highlight-reel dunks, finished a rebound short of a double-double in his USF debut after transferring from Arizona State.
USF 75, TAMPA 43
Up next: South Florida vs. Vermont, Saturday, 7 p.m., at the University of Tampa