There was no magic this time for the USF basketball team.
After its stunning upset in first round play Tuesday night, the Bulls suffered an 87-61 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday at the BIG EAST Tournament in Madison Square Garden.
The defeat ends the Bulls season with a 10-23 overall record and a 4-16 mark against Big East teams.
USF was successful Tuesday night in its 70-69 victory over Villanova thanks to the playmaking of point guard Anthony Crater and shooting of Shaun Noriega.
Noriega continued his sharp shooting Wednesday, but Crater was sidelined just before halftime with a shoulder injury and had to sit out the rest of the game.
Noriega scored 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from 3-point land, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a Cincinnati team led by Yancy Gates, who scored 25 points dropping in 10 of 11 shots.
Augustus Gilchrist led the Bulls with 16 points and pulled in five rebounds in the while Jarrid Famous, the team's only senior, added 10 points.
The Bulls couldn’t muster another second-half comeback without Crater, who was replaced by LaVonte Dority at the point. The Bearcats opened the second half on a 10-5 run to make the score 42-29, and USF never pulled back within single digits.
The Bulls trailed the entire first half and went to the locker room down eight at 32-24. After climbing within 24-22 with just over four minutes to go in the half, USF was outscored 8-2 over the duration of the period.
Noriega finished the tournament with 34 points primarily on 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) shooting from three. USF is now 2-3 all-time in the BIG EAST tournament and 18-30 in conference tournament play.
- The USF starters were Anthony Crater, Shaun Noriega, Jawanza Poland, Jarrid Famous and Augustus Gilchrist. It was the second game in a row that USF head coach Stan Heath used the lineup. Hugh Robertson had been the only Bull to start every game this season, but he came off the bench in both BIG EAST tournament contests. He notched a career-high four steals off the bench vs. Cincinnati.
- Since joining the league for the 2005-06 season, USF is 2-3 in the BIG EAST Championship. USF is 18-30 all-time in four different conference tournaments.
- Noriega hit four threes in the game and has hit multiple threes in 12 games this season. He shot 10-of-19 from three (52.6 percent) during the BIG EAST tournament.
- Crater had four rebounds, three assists and two steals when he left the game at halftime with a shoulder injury.
- Gilchrist scored 16 points, and has scored at least 10 points in all but seven games this season, including seven straight.