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Sunday Meltdown: USF Men’s Basketball Blows 14-Point lead in 68-64 loss to No. 21 Memphis

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I’d say that’s a new way to lose, but it really isn’t.

Anthony Vito/The Daily Stampede

The University of South Florida men’s basketball team blew a 14-point second half lead to lose 68-64 to the No. 21 Memphis Tigers on Sunday afternoon. The Bulls ended the game 1-for-10 from the field in the final 6:37 of the game.

“I thought our guys played their hearts out. I thought they played really hard,” head coach Brian Gregory said. “Our execution at times, [and] the foul trouble hurt us in the last seven or eight minutes of the game. We just weren’t able to get the defensive stops when our offense slowed up.”

The Bulls took a 51-37 lead with 13:15 left in the second half after a breakaway dunk from junior guard David Collins, but were never able to land the fatal blow on the Tigers. Memphis slowly started chipping away at the lead with defensive stops and timely baskets.

USF made just one basket during the Tigers’ 21-7 run over a eight-minute stretch that helped Memphis tie the game at 58-all with 5:29 left.

Collins led all scorers with 24 points, and he accounted for five of the Bulls’ final six points of the night (all free throws).

Tigers’ freshman forward Precious Achiuwa stuffed the stat sheet with 22 points, 11 rebounds (four offensive), and five blocks.

In the end, the Bulls—once again—let a second half double-digit lead evaporate against a top 25 team. Closing games has been especially tough for USF this season, and these close losses will continue to pile up until they can knock down shots, and free throws in “winning time” as Gregory called it.

USF will travel to Oviedo on Saturday to face Central Florida. Tip is at 6 p.m. on ESPNU.

Notables:

  • Ezacuras Dawson had 15 points, and five assists.
  • Laquincy Rideau was 1-for-9 from the field, and added six assists, and three steals.
  • Tyler Harris and Lester Quinones each hit two three’s and scored in double figures for the Tigers.