After starting the season 5-0, the South Florida men’s basketball team met its biggest challenge this season — road games.
The Bulls lost their first two away games against Florida and Wright State before coming back home and winning a one-point game against Northern Illinois.
Back on the road, USF lost at No. 14 Michigan State, hitting 13 free throws.
The Bulls defeated Long Island — Brooklyn and East Tennessee State in the USF Holiday Classic, then rounded out the break with a loss at Colorado State.
Dec. 8 No. 13 Florida 68, South Florida 52
USF had two free-throw attempts to UF’s 13 in the Gators’ victory.
The Bulls suffered their first loss of the season by committing 20 turnovers, as the Gators’ defense had 12 steals and 30 boards.The Gators had four total fouls in the game while the Bulls committed 16 fouls.
The Gators were able to shut down USF’s playmaker, holding Reggie Kohn to three points and three assists.
UF held center Will McDonald to 11 points, while Anthony Roberson scored 19, despite being thrown into the UF cheerleaders by Terence Leather on a flagrant foul.
Dec. 14 Wright State 69, South Florida 68
The Bulls dropped their second straight game in what coach Seth Greenberg called “a disappointing result.”
USF was haunted by poor free-throw shooting in a loss to a team that finished 9-7 in the Horizon League conference last season.
South Florida shot 9-of-14 for 64 percent in the second half for a game total of 68 percent from the free-throw line, while Wright State shot 82 percent for the game.
Tyson Freeman made two jump shots in the last 30 seconds to seal the win for the Raiders.
Jimmy Baxter led all scorers with 27 points, including four three-pointers.
Seth Doliboa was the Raiders’ leading scorer, shooting 13-of-14 from the field.
Dec. 17 South Florida 84, Northern Illinois 83
Three days after losing by one point, USF turned the tides and defeated NIU by one behind McDonald’s 28 points and seven blocks.
Kohn came one point shy of his third double-double with nine points and 10 assists.
With a post pass to McDonald, Kohn broke the Conference USA assists record, surpassing Aaron Hutchins, who had 491 playing for Marquette from 1996-99.
The Bulls jumped out to an early lead, with Baxter scoring 12 points in the first seven minutes to put the Bulls up 20-8 early in the half.
The Huskies’ P.J. Smith led all scorers with 35 points as well as six turnovers.
Dec. 21 No. 14 Michigan State 65, South Florida 56
USF’s second ranked opponent of the season used the same formula as Florida by containing Kohn.
The senior point guard posted only six points and was contained to two assists just a game after breaking the C-USA all-time assists record.
MSU opened the game with a 22-4 run and never looked back.
The Spartans had eight steals, forcing 5 turnovers while holding the Bulls to 33 percent shooting.
MSU came away with the win despite shooting 38 percent from the field.
Sophomore Brian Swift had a career-high 15 points off the bench, and freshman Yusuf Baker had nine rebounds for a game high.
Dec. 28 South Florida 92, LIU-Brooklyn 52
The Bulls continued their home winning streak with a 40-point victory against Long Island to advance to the championship game of the USF Holiday Classic.
The Blackbirds committed 17 turnovers while shooting 29 percent, with Baxter nabbing five steals.
Four Bulls scored in double figures, including freshman Danny Oglesby, who tallied a career-high 16 points.
Dec. 29 South Florida 68, East Tennessee State 56
USF won its third straight USF Holiday Classic behind Will McDonald’s 20 points.
The victory was also No. 100 for coach Seth Greenberg at USF.
Sophomore Marlyn Bryant added a career-high 17 rebounds to pace the Bulls on the glass.
Kohn had a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists.
The Bulls came away with the win despite turning the ball over 20 times.
McDonald, Bryant and Leather were named to the all-tournament team, and McDonald was named the Most Valuable Player.
Jan. 3 Colorado State 82, South Florida 70
After winning the USF Holiday Classic, the Bulls went back on the road and back to their road losing streak, going 0-4 away from the Sun Dome.
The Bulls defense allowed the Rams to shoot 63 percent from the field despite four steals by Baxter.
Matt Nelson and Ronnie Clark led all scorers with 20 points each for the Rams.
Colorado State grabbed 31 rebounds, including 18 on the defensive end of the court.
Leather fouled out of his second consecutive game, playing only 14 minutes with four rebounds.
USF shot only 20 percent behind the three-point line, with the Rams shooting 75 percent.