USF’s Hot Start Not Enough at UIU
The game extended the Peacocks (9-3) hot start, moving them to 5-1 in NSIC play, while the Cougars (5-5) fell to 1-5 against conference competition this season.
It was all USF early. The Cougars began the game on a 6-0 run, and stretched their lead to 13-points near the 9:00 mark of the first stanza. However, by the 2:00 mark, USF found themselves trailing, as UIU outscored the visiting team 28-8 to close the half with a 38-32 advantage.
USF would trail for the remainder of the game.
Ahead 42-33 with 18:25 to play, UIU maintained an eight point lead near the 10:00 mark. That is when USF made their push. James Rader's jumper cut the Cougars' deficit to two points with 8:31 left on the clock.
USF would pull within two points of the home team on three more occasions, the last coming with 4:12 to play, but UIU scored 14 of the game's final 21 points, including 12 at the line, to pick up their third-consecutive win.
USF finished 49% from the field in comparison to 37% shooting by UIU tonight. The game marked the second time the Cougars have outshot their opponent this season; both games resulted in a loss.
The game was won at the line, as the teams combined to commit 53 fouls. The Peacocks connected on 83% (39-47) of their attempts, while USF converted a season-low 55% (17-31).
USF was also plagued by turnovers, as they recorded 18 turnovers in the loss.
UIU finished with three players in double-figures. Jake Hughes and Sam Elgin tallied 16 each, while Jake Shonka tacked on 11 for the Peacocks.
Derek Brown was the only USF player outside of Rader to reach 10-plus points. Brown knocked down 4-of-8 attempts from deep en route to 14 points, his sixth double-digit performance of the year.
Rader's outing was not only a game-best, but a career-high. He was efficient, hitting 9-of-12 from the floor and 8-of-11 at the line in 22 minutes of play.
USF returns to the court Saturday, when they visit Winona State University. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.