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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 15, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stroh Center (4,380) -- Bowling Green, Ohio. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: USF 2-0, BGSU 1-0. Away Record: USF 0-0, BGSU 0-0. Neutral Record: USF 0-0, BGSU 0-0. Conference Record: USF 0-0, BGSU 0-0. Series Record: South Florida leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The South Florida Bulls will hit the road for the first time this season as they visit the Stroh Center for a non-conference tilt against the Bowling Green Falcons.
The Bulls took care of business in Tampa to begin the campaign with two consecutive wins. They defeated Tennessee Tech, 72-62, in their season-opener before completing a 91-65 rout of Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday. Coach Stan Heath owns a 3-0 record versus Bowling Green after defeating it three times in Mid- American Conference play when he was in charge of Kent State's program. Only one of the Bulls' last seven opponents have surpassed the 65-point mark dating back to last season.
Bowling Green is also undefeated thanks to its 102-49 domination of Division III foe Earlham. The Falcons are hoping to propel themselves toward the top of the MAC after finishing in the bottom half of the East Division in four straight seasons. Coach Louis Orr's team went just 13-19 overall, which included a 1-12 mark on the road, as it produced only 62.8 points and 12 assists per game. Defensively, the Falcons were sound as they held foes to only 63.5 ppg.
This will be the third meeting in history between South Florida and Bowling Green. The Bulls hold a 2-0 all-time series lead after narrowly edging the Falcons, 87-84, last season on Dec. 21, 2012. The first encounter took place in the 1977-78 campaign.
USF once again appears to have a very strong defensive unit after limiting its first two opponents to just 63.5 points per game on 32.6 percent shooting from the field. The Bulls, who averaged only 64.8 ppg in 2012-13, have tallied 81.5 ppg on the offensive end, despite not having starting point guard Anthony Collins, who is still recovering from a knee injury. Victor Rudd has led the way with 18.5 ppg on 45 percent shooting from the field. Corey Allen Jr. has picked up the slack with Collins out by scoring 28 points and handing out 16 assists so far. Freshman Chris Perry is also a player to watch after scoring in double figures in his first two games.
The Falcons had some big gaps to fill in their lineup coming into the season A'uston Calhoun and Jordon Crawford both graduated after accounting for 47.9 percent of the team's points last year. BGSU used a group effort to win its season opener as all five starters scored in double figures. Jehvon Clarke led the way with 17 points, eight assists and six steals, while Anthony Henderson added 16 points. The starting frontcourt consists of Chauncey Orr, Richaun Holmes and Cameron Black. The trio combined to go 17-of-23 from the field for a total of 38 points. Holmes also blocked four shots, while the team swiped 22 steals collectively.
BGSU will have trouble lighting up the scoreboard against this USF squad, but it is very strong defensively itself. The mid-major programs tend to give a greater effort than usual against opponents from elite conferences. The Bulls are more talented and athletic, but they will struggle to create distance from the feisty Falcons without a healthy Collins in the mix.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Florida 72, Bowling Green 68
11/15 10:31:49 ET