Outside of another impressive performance from freshman David Collins and a streaky final few minutes, there wasn’t much else working for the USF Bulls in a 79-68 loss to Tulane on Saturday afternoon at the Sun Dome.
“Not a good enough overall effort. Not enough juice or energy on either end of the floor,” head coach Brian Gregory said. “We have to play a lot better than that to be successful in this league.”
Collins finished with a team-high 17 points, grabbed four rebounds and was a perfect 2-for-2 from behind in the arc in 35 minutes.
A Stephan Jiggets three-ball made it 5-2 USF in the opening minutes before the Green Wave went on a 7-0 run to grab a 9-5 lead at the first media timeout. Jiggets finished with 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting and hauled in two rebounds in 38 minutes.
The Bulls started the game 0-for-4 at the free-throw line and finished at a surprisingly low 73% (16-for-22). Another mini 6-0 Green Wave run pushed the deficit to 21-11 and forced USF into a timeout.
USF (8-21, 1-15 AAC) trailed 41-28 at halftime and did not hit a field goal in the final 2:47 of the first half.
While the Green Wave maintained a double-digit lead early in the second half, the Bulls hit five straight shots with under-four minutes to play to trim the Green Wave lead to 71-59. A few turnovers and whistles though was all Tulane needed to go on another mini run and pull away late.
“Just not enough grit when it came to some defensive game plan things that we needed to get done,” Gregory added. “There wasn’t the same level of fight from our guards today like there was in New Orleans.”
The Bulls lone American Athletic Conference win this season was one month ago against Tulane on the road. USF has now lost eight straight since that upset win on January 25.
Tulane (14-14, 5-1 AAC), scored 17 points off the Bulls 12 turnovers and outscored USF 38-22 in the paint.
As a team, the Bulls finished the game shooting 43% (22-of-51) from the floor and 44% (8-for-18) from three-point range.
USF has two regular season games remaining and will hit the road for a contest against Memphis next Thursday, before returning to the Sun Dome for the home finale against SMU on March 4 at 2 p.m.