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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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New era, slow start
USF squanders a lead at home in coach Stan Heath's Bulls debut.
By SHARON GINN, Times Correspondent
Published November 10, 2007
TAMPA - That sick feeling Stan Heath always wakes up with after a loss came a little earlier than expected this season.
Heath's debut as USF coach Friday night was spoiled by visiting Cleveland State, which scrapped its way back from a nine-point deficit in the final seven minutes to upset the Bulls 73-70 in the Sun Dome.
The Vikings, who led much of the first half, went on a 12-0 run to take back the lead late in the second half. A 3-pointer by guard Solomon Bozeman got USF within one, but teammate Dominique Jones missed two free throws with 6.7 seconds remaining, and Cleveland State forward J'Nathan Bullock - perfect from the line all night - made his two to secure the victory.
Heath went home Friday night knowing he would not sleep much.
"This is a hard loss for me to swallow," Heath said. "We definitely had an opportunity to win the game ... we didn't get the job done.
"We simply have to get better. I know these guys have had a little bit of experience going through that in the past, but it's just not acceptable to me. When you have an opportunity to put a team away, you put them away."
The Bulls played without last year's top scorer and rebounder, center Kentrell Gransberry, who was serving a one-game suspension for playing in a nonsanctioned tournament over the summer.
USF's smaller-than-usual lineup was outrebounded 35-30 by the Vikings and struggled to score inside, but Heath said Gransberry's absence was no excuse.
"We played the guys we had and we still should have won," he said.
Heath's debut drew an announced crowd of 3,618, a bit larger than the 3,243 that came out to see USF beat Buffalo in last season's opener. Cleveland State silenced the crowd early, jumping to a 17-11 as USF missed shots.
The Bulls didn't seem to have an answer for Bullock, who scored a game-high 26 and was 13-of-13 from the free-throw line. After a slow start, USF clawed back into the game with seven 3-pointers, five by Bozeman (19 points).
The Bulls had 13 turnovers and made just two steals, showing Heath that his young team has "got to execute, get tougher."
"They converted their plays and we got off to a slow start," he said. "That's got to change. We've got to control the tempo and set the tone. You lose a game by two, you don't know where those two points come from. The first five minutes, the last five minutes?"