Despite a season-high 23 points from sophomore David Collins and another second half rally, the USF men’s basketball fell to No. 21 Houston 69-60 in front of a rowdy 5,563 at the Yuengling Center on Saturday night.
“We just played a team that is very, very good and never gets out of sorts, in terms of what they try to get done offensively and defensively,” head coach Brian Gregory said. “I thought we did some good things, but not enough to beat a team like Houston.”
The Bulls (12-6, 2-4), seeking a win over a ranked opponent for the first time in seven years, went more than seven minutes without a field goal early in the first half as the Cougars stormed out to a 35-25 lead.
The teams combined for 62 fouls and 76 free throws, completely halting any momentum the game tried to create and sending the Bulls into big-time foul trouble.
“Aesthetically, it wasn’t a very good game for anybody to watch,” Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson told the media after the game. “I felt bad that people had to watch that.”
Reigning AAC Freshman of the Week, Alexis Yetna finished with 12 points and seven rebounds but picked up his fourth foul of the game with still 14 minutes to play and eventually fouled out.
On the heels of six straight points in two minutes from Collins, the Bulls took off on a 12-0 run and trimmed the deficit to just four at 47-43 midway through the second half.
Trailing 61-49 with 4:03 remaining, the trio of T.J. Lang, Justin Brown and Mayan Kiir were a combined 1-for-18 from the floor and 0-for-11 from three.
Junior point guard Laquincy Rideau, the Bulls’ leading-scorer, finished with only eight points and two boards.
As a team, USF shot just 32% (14-for-44) from the floor, a rough 24% (5-for-21) from three-point range and turned it over 19 times.
“It’s hard to have the turnovers we had in the back-court, and it’s hard to have quality looks and not be able to make any of them,” Gregory added. “I thought we fought pretty hard, but Houston got every 50-50 ball, not because we weren’t playing hard, but because they just play at a whole other level, and that’s why they are good.”
USF resumes conference play on Tuesday night at home against Wichita State. Tip is set for 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
- The Bulls have taken the fourth-most free throw attempts of any team in the NCAA and have taken over 40 three times this season. Saturday, USF finished 66% (27-for-41) from the charity stripe.
- FULL Greogy press conference: