Heath unhappy after loss to No. 15 Kansas
LAWRENCE, Kan.—South Florida coach Stan Heath wasn't happy with the offensive showing Saturday night against No. 15 Kansas.
The Bulls' numbers in the second half were similar to the first half, but Heath said the offense wasn't very good in their 70-42 loss to the Jayhawks.
"I don't know what team you want to talk about -- our first-half team or our second-half team," Heath said. "Our second-half team lost a little focus and really couldn't keep pace with Kansas. I thought (Kansas) did a great job in second half of continuing to attack and having a little bit more patience."
South Florida matched its point total in the first half in the second half with 21. It had four assists in both halves and grabbed one fewer rebound in the second half.
Kansas started to figure things out after halftime as it scored more points in the last 20 minutes -- 46 -- than South Florida did in the entire game.
Heath said South Florida isn't a 40-minute team yet. He said it's been a strange beginning of the season, that the Bulls haven't been able to practice with 10 players since October because of injury.
Augustus Gilchrist had 11 points for the Bulls (5-4), who were facing their first ranked opponent of the year.
"Gilchrist had his first practice yesterday, Anthony Collins has not practiced with contact until a week ago," Heath said. "This is the first game Anthony Collins and Gilchrist have ever played together. Jawanza Poland, our second-leading scorer, has not played all year long, has not practiced."
Collins had eight points. Gilchrist said the Heath's scouting report said Kansas would play a fast uptempo style. Gilchrist, however, didn't realize that all five players couldn't crash the boards because of how effective Kansas is in transition.
The Bulls slowed the tempo at times by utilizing the entire shot clock.
"We tried to be patient and tried to get the best shot we can," Collins said. "We wanted to get the ball to the post, any way we could, but it didn't work out there
Kansas coach Bill Self, in the meantime, was ruefully recalling how he told his players before the season there would be times they would have to "win ugly."
The Jayhawks (5-2) followed a lackluster win over Florida Atlantic earlier this week with rough first half on Saturday in which they struggled to a three-point halftime lead.
"They've taken it to a different level than I ever imagined," Self said. "We were awful. ... I told our guys before the season that we were going to have to really enjoy winning ugly because we don't have as many offensive weapons like we've had in the past."
Tyshawn Taylor, held to four points in the first half, had 20 in the second, and Thomas Robinsin had 14 points and eight rebounds, ending his stretch of six straight double-doubles for Kansas.
After making only one of 11 3-point shots in the opening half, the Jayhawks got three straight 3s from Travis Releford, Connor Teahan and Taylor, triggering a long run that put Kansas firmly in command, finally.
Kansas opened the second half with a 7-0 run keyed by Robinson. The 6-10 junior rebounded a teammate's miss and scored on a soft putback to make it 28-21, then stole a Bulls pass and fed Taylor streaking downcourt on a fastbreak. Taylor rattled in the free throw to put the Jayhawks up 10.
Hugh Robertson's bucket cut Kansas' lead to 38-31, then Releford's 3-pointer seemed to ignite the Jayhawks. Taylor, fouled by Gilchrist, hit a pair of free throws and then Releford scored on a fastbreak for a 51-35 lead that allowed the 167th straight sellout crowd in Allen Fieldhouse to finally breathe easy.
"I think we just came out in the second half with a different attitude," Taylor said. "First half was a little sluggish for us. We didn't have much energy as a team. In the second half, we just wanted to come out with a little more energy, pressure the ball a little more, get some fastbreak points. And that's what we did. We just tried to pressure the ball a little bit more."
In a seesaw first half that saw nine lead changes, the Bulls stayed close by slowing down the tempo, draining the shot clock and benefiting from awful Kansas shooting. The Jayhawks hit only five of their first 16 shots and never led by more than two until Teahan drove in for a layup and then made a foul shot for a 24-19 advantage.
Shaun Noriega cut it to 24-21 with the final bucket of the half. It was the third straight game the tenacious South Florida defense held an opponent under 30 points over the first 20 minutes.
With 2 seconds left in the half, Collins stole the ball and drove in for what would have been an uncontested dunk if the buzzer hadn't sounded just as he went up. After a review, officials disallowed the bucket, sending the 16-point underdogs into intermission trailing by only three.