Rutgers 71, South Florida 62

After James Beatty scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half

to lift Rutgers to a 71-62 win over South Florida on Thursday

night, Scarlet Knights coach Mike Rice was questioned as to why his

point guard didn?t shoot more.

Beatty himself didn?t even wait to be asked.

“I know, I know, why don?t I shoot more,” the smiling senior

said as reporters converged around him. “I don?t know why. It?s

funny, I?m always shooting after practice, I even got in the paint

today.

“At times in second half we have struggled to score, we?ve had

breakdowns and I?m tired of it because we work so hard in the first

half to stay in games. So me and Jonathan (Mitchell) talked about

it and tonight we made plays.”

Mitchell also had 20 points and Mike Coburn added 13 for the

Scarlet Knights (11-7, 2-4 Big East), who handed USF its 10th loss

in 12 games. The Bulls (7-13, 1-6), now 0-8 on the road, got 14

each from Augustus Gilchrist and Hugh Robertson and 11 from Jawanza

Poland.

Beatty, who was averaging 6.3 shots per game, hit 7 of 11 in the

second half and 3 of 4 from 3-point range. He also drove the lane

for several layups.

“We explained to him at halftime he needs to shoot and

penetrate,” Rice said. “He?s shooting 48 percent from 3-point range

in Big East play. We need more scoring and our seniors to step

up.

“He?s so unselfish. It?s hard to be truly angry at him. He?s the

point guard, the guy wants to make everybody happy.”

USF scored the first five points of the second half for a 30-25

lead before Beatty hit three straight 3-pointers to put Rutgers

ahead.

“Those were some big plays,” Bulls coach Stan Heath said. “We

started the way we wanted to, we showed some patience, I liked what

we were doing offensively. But you have to play both ends of the

court.

“We knew Beatty was the straw that stirs the drink, and we were

late getting to him, he got some rhythm shots and made three in a

row.”

It then went back and forth until Beatty?s 3-pointer made it

47-44 and gave Rutgers the lead for good.

The Scarlet Knights took control when nine straight points made

it 61-50 with 3:19 left. Poland missed a wide-open breakaway slam

that he tried to tomahawk in the midst of the run. A bucket would

have brought the Bulls within five, but USF got no closer than six

the rest of the way.

Beatty felt the miss gave Rutgers a lift.

“That could have given them momentum,” he said. “He killed it

for them with that dunk. And who knows what would have happened to

us. Would we hang our heads or keep our composure?”

Heath felt the difference in the game was Rutgers senior

leadership, but admitted the missed dunk was “a letdown” along with

some late turnovers.

“I have no problem with him dunking the ball,” Heath said. “I

thought he tried to throw a little more emphatic emphasis on the

dunk and didn?t need to. I thought he could have gone up and made a

simple normal dunk. We talked about it.”

Rutgers shot 55.6 percent in the second half after shooting just

34.8 percent in the first. USF was even worse at 31.8 percent

before heading into intermission tied at 25.