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USF loses first round in Hawaii
Iowa State hands a 83-74 loss to the Bulls, who face a tough turnaround today.
By STEPHEN TSAI
Published December 22, 2005
Iowa State's Will Blalock drives past USF's James Holmes during the first half of the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic in Honolulu.
HONOLULU -- For the University of South Florida basketball team, the day started in a "vog" -- a fog caused by the ashy emissions from a volcano on a neighboring Hawaiian island -- and ended in the late-night haze of an 83-74 loss to Iowa State in the opening round of the Rainbow Classic.
A Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 1,379 watched the short-handed Bulls (5-4) fail to overcome fatigue, careless ball-handling and erratic free-throw shooting.
The game ended Thursday at 2:30 a.m. Eastern time. The Bulls face Oregon State today at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.
"It'll be tough turnaround," USF coach Robert McCullum said. "But it will be tough for Oregon State, as well."
The Bulls would have been more at ease if they had not squandered a 35-23 first-half lead and forward McHugh Mattis' school-record 10-for-10 shooting. The Bulls committed 25 turnovers against a full-court trap and relinquished 10 3-point baskets, including four during the Cyclones' 18-2 run to close the first half.
"We did a poor job of defending their 3-point shooters," McCullum said. "I thought that was a big factor. When it was all said and done, we didn't take care of the basketball. We felt if we kept our turnovers under 20, we would win the game. I felt strongly about that coming in. We didn't take care of the basketball."
The Cyclones, who prefer to dictate the tempo with full-court traps and presses, increased the pressure to take advantage of the Bulls' lack of depth. Backup forward Zaronn Cann did not play because of an injured right knee, leaving the Bulls with six available scholarship players. The Bulls used seven players, with five playing at least 34 minutes.
"It's been a problem," McCullum said of the small rotation. "It's going to be one all year. But it's the situation we have. It's not something we can focus on. There's nothing we can do about it. We have to play the hand we're dealt, and that means trying to keep guys as fresh as we can."
Still, the Bulls managed several times to elude the Cyclones' trapping defense. When they did, guard James Holmes found room behind the 3-point line while Mattis controlled the low post. Mattis' 10 field goals came on dunks, layups and putbacks. Mattis, who has not attempted a jump shot this season, finished with 23 points.
"It was unforced errors, really," Mattis said. "We made too many mistakes. It was quite difficult."
And the Cyclones took advantage, scoring 40 points off of turnovers. Iowa State coach Wayne Morgan said the turnovers translated into "25 possessions when they didn't get to shoot."
Meanwhile, the Bulls had difficulty slowing the Cyclones' motion offense.
"We weren't playing tough enough on defense," Capko said. "We were trading baskets with them. Against a team like Iowa State, you just can't do that. We had some momentum, then they come back, we have some kind of lapse on defense, and they score a basket."