Pirates beat USF, end losing streak
The men’s basketball team won an important Big East Conference match-up at home Wednesday night against the University of South Florida Bulls, improving to 13-6 on the season and 2-4 in the Big East.
Junior Fuquan Edwin led the team in scoring, totaling 16 points for the Pirates. He also grabbed and recording a double-double. Edwin was followed close behind in scoring by sophomore forward Brandon Mobley, who totaled 14 points for the Pirates.
The Pirates shined defensively, holding USF to making only 33.9 percent of their shots from the floor and only 15.8 percent from 3-point range.
Head Coach Kevin Willard stressed how important the win was to the team.
“It was a very crucial win,” Willard said. “I’m looking forward to getting this team healthy and playing well at home. If we do that, we give ourselves a chance, if not we are playing for pride.”
Mobley, who had injured his shoulder against Providence in game and missed last week’s game against Marquette, was able to return tonight and immediately contributed to the team, going 7-8 from the field.
Mobley said it was important for him to be able to help the Pirates achieve their victory against USF after sitting out due to his injury.
“It felt good man,” Mobley said. “I was disappointed I couldn’t go with my team to Milwaukee. It felt good to get out there and most importantly get the win.”
Junior swingman Brian Oliver has also been battling an injury and was able to return against USF. Oliver had missed the last five games with a sprained right ankle.
Oliver made a big impact returning to the court going 3-3 from 3-point range.
Oliver said that he wanted to make an impact for the Pirates after missing five straight games.
“Honestly coming into the game I told myself to pick up from where I left off, don’t back track.” Oliver said. “It felt good to be able to contribute and help my team out.”
Coach Kevin Willard said that getting Mobley and Oliver back from injury certainly helped the team, especially in practice.
“We practiced with more than 7 guys for the first time since December,” Willard said. “We practiced for the first time in a month with the full 9 or 10 guys. It helped us get confidence both offensively and defensively.”
Moving forward, Mobley said that he does not think his injury is going to hold back is performance on the court.
“I just have to get my confidence back,” Mobley said. “I only have to wear the brace a couple more weeks. I’ll be fine.”
The Pirates will next take the court at 12 p.m. on Sunday to face off against St. Johns at Madison Square Garden.
Courtney Hnasko can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.