USF men’s basketball lost another game Wednesday night to the Memphis Tigers 86-74. I blame the stupidly late start time of 8:30 for the loss.
The Bulls defense could not keep up with the screens and cuts of the Tigers all night which led to a lot of easy baskets for the Tigers. Memphis had 30 points in the paint in the first half, which helped push their lead to 42-32 at the break.
“They got the ball in the paint and we played behind the post, which we can’t do,” head coach Brian Gregory said. “We gave up second chance opportunities [Memphis had 15 offensive rebounds on 32 missed shots] and they scored on breakaways.”
USF picked up the defensive pressure and communication in the second half, allowing 16 points in the paint. The Bulls held Memphis to just 44% shooting from the field after the Tigers shot over 50% in the first half.
The Tigers were able to push their lead to 20 midway through the second half before Collins and fellow freshman Justin Brown began to heat up from the floor to get the Bulls back within nine points with under two minutes left in the game. That’s the closest the Bulls were able to make it.
“They played harder than us. Point blank,” guard Payton Banks said.
USF was led offensively by freshman guard David Collins, who had a career-high 21 points and made 10-11 free throws. He had 10 points in the first half.
“He’s the one person that can get in the lane at will on our team and if he can do that night-in, night-out,” Banks said. “We gotta take care of what we have to because he came to play.
The Bulls shot a perfect 11-of-11 from the free throw line in the first half. They finished 24-of-26. They shot a paltry 9-of-23 at the charity stripe against Houston on Sunday.
“We’re a good free throw shooting team,” Gregory said. “[Tampa Bay Times USF beat writer] Joey [Knight] screwed us on that one. He did it to us and he did it to [women’s basketball player] Kitija Laksa. That guy is a jinx.” (Gregory was only half-joking.
Brown finished with with 13 points, all in the second half. The grad transfer trio of Payton Banks (16), Stephan Jiggetts (10), and Terrence Samuel (12) each scored over ten points.
The Bulls will take on Tulsa at the Sun Dome on Super Bowl Sunday at 2 p.m.