The men’s basketball team went into its game against Cincinnati having lost four of the last five games its played, including a crushing 39-point defeat at home against defending NCAA champion Louisville.
Despite the Bulls’ recent struggles, the team was leading the Bearcats 41-40 with 5:48 remaining in the game on Sunday in a contest that featured six lead changes.
But the Bulls (11-11, 2-7) were unable to sustain the lead.
The Bulls played sloppily down the stretch, turning the ball over five times and only making one out of seven shot attempts.Cincinnati (21-2, 10-0), on the other hand, maintained its composure and showed why it is the 13th ranked team in the nation. The team outscored the Bulls in the final minutes and won its 14th consecutive game, 50-45, over USF.
USF, which has been struggling from the 3-point range this year — shooting only 25.5 percent compared to opponents’ 37.6 percent — attempted but missed five 3-pointers in the final six minutes of the game instead of attacking the basket.
Freshman forward Chris Perry was a bright spot for the Bulls with 13 points and seven rebounds in 30 minutes, continuing his play from the game against SMU when he posted 18 points and eight rebounds in 22 minutes. Perry came off the bench and played mostly in place of sophomore forward Zach LeDay who started for the Bulls but only played 11 minutes.
The Bulls struggled offensively as Perry and senior forward Victor Rudd were the only Bulls to score at least 10 points. USF’s offensive lowlights featured.
18 points in the first half, which is its lowest scoring half of the season. USF will get a break from its unusually tough schedule in the coming week, as the game against UCF on Wednesday will begin a four-game stretch where the Bulls will not face a top 25 team.
The Bulls return to Tampa for two days of practice before traveling to UCF where they will play at 7 p.m.