A well-executed 68-56 win over East Tennessee State hands Seth Greenberg his 100th win at USF.
By PETE YOUNG, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published December 30, 2002
TAMPA -- Before Sunday's game against East Tennessee State, South Florida coach Seth Greenberg emphasized to his team the importance of winning 50-50 balls. Guard Marlyn Bryant responded by grabbing 17 rebounds.
At halftime, Greenberg emphasized seizing command at the start of the second half. USF scored the first seven after halftime to grab a 21-point lead.
It would seem the Bulls are taking well to instruction. USF was impressive for a second straight day in toppling ETSU 68-56 and capturing the USF Holiday Classic before 3,236 at the Sun Dome.
The Bulls (7-3) improved to 7-0 at home and Greenberg earned his 100th victory at USF in his seventh season. It is the second recent milestone for Greenberg, who earlier this season won his 200th collegiate game.
"I was proud of our team. I thought we defended well on back-to-back nights," said Greenberg, whose team defeated Long Island 92-52 on Saturday, the fourth-largest victory margin in school history. "We were active and quick."
Bryant, a muscular 6-foot-3 sophomore, dictated matters with his rebounding dominance.
"I was wondering why I didn't get any rebounds," said USF center Will McDonald, who had 20 points and six rebounds and was named tournament MVP. "(Bryant) got them all."
Bryant easily surpassed his career high of 10, and he had 11 rebounds in the second half.
"What can you say about Marlyn Bryant?" Greenberg said. "He'll clang two dunks off the back of the rim, but before it comes off the rim he'll go get it again. He's just a hard-playing, winning player."
Said Bryant: "Basically, the coaches told me to crash the boards."
The Bulls displayed good ball movement all weekend. Saturday they set a season high with 26 assists, and Sunday they had 20 assists on their 28 field goals. Reggie Kohn had a game-high 11 assists along with 10 points and 3 steals.
McDonald, who had 42 points in the tournament, played with a heavily wrapped right (shooting) hand. Greenberg said he will be evaluated and might have a chipped bone.
"We're playing good team basketball," McDonald said. "Every night a different person brings something to the table."
The Bulls trailed 9-6 at the first timeout, but a 21-6 spurt forged a 27-15 lead. They closed with an 11-2 run for a 42-28 halftime lead.
On the first possession after the half, a set play for McDonald got USF out of the gate, and a Bryant layup made it 49-28 two minutes into the second half.
"The first five minutes after halftime, we try to dominate right there so it can be easy sailing from there on out," McDonald said.
A resounding double-clutch reverse slam by Jimmy Baxter midway through the second half provided the exclamation. The closest the Buccaneers got in the second half was the final margin.
East Tennessee State (5-5) had several Tampa-area connections. Leading scorer Tiras Wade (13 points, six rebounds) is a Tampa Bay Tech graduate, reserve guard James Anthony (three points, four rebounds) is from Armwood High and assistant coach Scott Wagers coached USF forward Terrence Leather at Robinson High.
Leather had 11 points and seven rebounds for the Bulls, and Baxter had 14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.
"(Baxter is) playing really unselfish basketball right now," Greenberg said. "He made some excellent passes, extra passes."
After the game Greenberg was presented with the game ball by athletic director Lee Roy Selmon to commemorate the milestone.
"My wife told me last night, 'You need one win to get to 100 here,' " Greenberg said. "It was nice."
The Bulls next play Friday at Colorado State.