Thursday, March 15, 2012

South Florida Wins First Tournament Game in First Four

RUDD (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
South Florida (Bulls, 47,122 students, Tampa, FL) 65, California (Golden Bears, 25,530 students, Berkeley, CA) 50 -- There were those that said the Bulls belonged in the Big Dance and those that said the Golden Bears didn’t.  They were all right.

South Florida displayed their tenacious defense a staple of the plodding Big (L)East and Cal couldn’t do a thing with it scoring a whopping 13 points in the first half. 

Game over. 

"We get mad when people score, no matter what kind of bucket it is," said Victor Rudd, who had 15 points. "And that's what makes us have people scoring in the 50s, 40s. We don't like it when people score at all, not even on a free throw.

"So we get mad at each other, and that's how we play great defense."

South Florida (21-13) will play No. 5 seed Temple in Nashville on Friday, a matchup of teams known for gritty defense. Few have been better than this one for the first 20 minutes on the NCAA stage.

The Bulls swarmed 'em, bumped 'em and swatted their shots away -- those that weren't air balls, that is.
California (24-10) didn't score over the last 8:55 of the first half, missing 10 shots and turning it over twice while South Florida pulled ahead 36-13.

Guard Jorge Gutierrez, the Pac-12 player of the year, was held to 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting. California managed only five field goals in the first half, when three of their points came off free throws.

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