TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Kentrell Gransberry nearly cost his team two points before the opening tip. The center made up for it with an outstanding performance.
Gransberry had 20 points and 17 rebounds and Dominique Jones added 24 points to lead South Florida past Rutgers 68-45 in the Big East Conference opener for both teams Wednesday night."Grans, I thought he was monster inside," South Florida coach Stan Heath said.Rutgers had the rare opportunity to actually take the lead before the game started. Gransberry was called for an indirect technical foul for dunking during warm ups. However, Jaron Griffin missed both free throws he attempted between the introduction of the starting lineups and the opening jump ball."It was a freshmen mistake," Gransberry, a 6-foot-9 senior, said. "It's something that won't happen again."Heath was impressed with Gransberry's focus after the call."You make mistakes sometimes," Heath said. "I just told him, make up for it with some rebounds and some inside play, and he did that."South Florida (10-4, 1-0) has won 10 of 11. The victory improved the Bulls all-time Big East Conference mark to 5-28.Anthony Farmer had 14 points and team-leading scorer JR Inman was held to eight points but had 14 rebounds.South Florida broke the game open with a 16-3 run, to go up 60-43 with 4 minutes left. Jones had five points, including a 3 during the stretch.Rutgers (8-6, 0-1) hit just three field goals during the final 11:15 of play."If you don't shoot the ball well, and that's we've struggled with all season long, it makes it pretty tough," Rutgers coach Fred Hill said.Gransberry scored 13 points and Jones had nine to help the Bulls take a 30-26 halftime lead. Farmer had eight points, while Inman came off the bench 5 minutes into the game and was held to two first-half points.The decision not to start Inman was so Rutgers could use a different lineup. Inman played 35 minutes."We decided that we were going to make a lineup change and take a look at some different things," Hill said. "Maybe to get us going a little bit."Hill did not rule out Inman coming off the bench again in Saturday's game with Georgetown. Inman was 4-for-13 from the floor, and missed all three free throw tries."I shot it with confidence and I felt confident in myself," Inman said. "It just wasn't falling early. Then we started to get down a little bit, and that might have messed with my head."Rutgers was without Corey Chandler, who has a right foot injury, for the third consecutive game. The freshman guard is averaging 14.1 points, and is listed as day to day. He has some limited practice time recently.