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DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 28, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Carver Arena (11,164) -- Peoria, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: USF 6-2, Bradley 5-2. Away Record: USF 2-0, Bradley 0-3. Neutral Record: USF 0-2, Bradley 0-2. Conference Record: USF 0-0, Bradley 0-0. Series Record: USF leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The South Florida Bulls and Bradley Braves will wrap up their respective non-conference schedules when they meet up at Carver Arena.
USF is looking to get back into the win column after dropping back-to-back contests to Mississippi State (71-66) and Santa Clara (66-65) in the Las Vegas Classic. Prior to those setbacks, the Bulls had won four straight. Following this tilt, they'll open American Athletic Conference play against Memphis Tuesday night at the Sun Dome.
Bradley is also coming off consecutive setbacks in Las Vegas as it fell to Portland (74-53) and then Pacific (71-55) in last weekend's Holiday Hoops Classic. The Braves are down to their last chance to stave off a winless December for the first time since 1991, Jim Molinari's first season as head coach. They are also trying to avoid consecutive losses at Carver Arena for the first time since losing the final three home games of the 2011-12 season.
In the only prior meeting between these two schools, USF claimed an 82-63 victory over Bradley last November in Tampa.
USF squandered a nine-point lead in the final five and a half minutes at Santa Clara. The Bulls shot 55.1 percent for the game while the Broncos shot just 38.2 percent. However, Santa Clara's 19-6 edge in points off turnovers proved critical in a game that featured seven ties and 14 lead changes. Victor Rudd paced four players in double figures with 19 points to go along with nine rebounds, marking his eighth straight game in double figures. Freshman center John Egbunu added 11 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for his first career double-double. Through 12 games, Rudd is averaging a team-best 16.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per tilt. Corey Allen, Jr. is next in line with 12.5 ppg, although he was held scoreless and attempted only one shot in 32 minutes against Santa Clara.
For Bradley, Walt Lemon, Jr. leads the way with 14.9 ppg, followed by Tyshon Pickett (7.1 rpg) with 13.3 ppg and Omari Grier with 13.2 ppg. The Braves have held their own on the boards with a +2.3 rebounding advantage on the season, but they are shooting only a collective 27.2 percent from the perimeter. They were simply outmatched by Portland and Pacific in last week's Holiday Hoops Classic at South Point Arena. In the latter setback to Pacific, Bradley shot just 31.4 percent for the game as the offense went flat. In fact, the Braves managed only three buckets in a span of nearly 22 minutes. Omari Grier led three players in double figures with 15 points.
The Braves need to somehow solve their shooting woes, while the Bulls need to find some consistency. Points could be at a premium in this matchup between struggling squads.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: South Florida 59, Bradley 55
12/28 10:43:50 ET
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