TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - South Florida coach Stan Heath wanted to turn the page quickly after a one-sided loss to No. 12 Louisville.
Wayne Blackshear scored 16 points to pace a balanced offense that carried the defending national champions to an 86-47 rout of the cold-shooting Bulls on Wednesday night.
“This will certainly go down as a game that I want to forget as fast as possible,” Heath said. “They dictated, and did whatever they wanted to do. I just thought that we were a little bit in awe, and you can’t play the jerseys. You’ve got to play those guys in the jerseys. Tonight we were playing the jerseys, and were just kind of mesmerized.”
South Florida (10-9, 1-5) lost to a ranked opponent for the second time in less than a week, shooting just 36 percent from the field. The Bulls, coming off a seven-point loss to AAC leader Cincinnati, turned the ball over 23 times while allowing Louisville to outscore them 35-6 off miscues.
“I was encouraged after the Cincinnati game, but really disappointed in how we performed today,” Heath said. “We’ve got to be a team that’s going to fight and give a lot more resistance than what we gave tonight.”
Chris Perry led USF with 10 points before fouling out. Victor Rudd was limited to six - nine below his team-leading average - on 3-of-8 shooting.
“We were really active defensively and got a lot of easy buckets off our defense,” Louisville coach Rick Pitino said. “We were trying to change up as much as possible and keep Rudd from getting a lot of attempts. They played very well against Cincinnati, and they just had an off night tonight. We were very much ready to play because of that Cincinnati game.”
With point guard Anthony Collins sitting out a ninth straight game because of a sore left knee, USF struggled to find any rhythm on offense.
The Bulls missed 11 of their first 13 shots and Louisville used an 18-3 run to build an early 22-7 lead. It was 45-22 at halftime, and the closest USF got after the Cardinals scored the first seven points of the second half was 27.
“Their defense is pretty hectic,” Rudd said.
Louisville’s biggest lead was 44 with just more than 5 minutes left. USF shot 33 percent in the opening half and only warmed up slightly after the break, finishing 16 of 44 (36.4 percent).
The Cardinals have won four straight, and six of seven since losing at Kentucky on Dec. 28. They improved to 28-4 against USF, including 14-1 under Pitino.