USF prepares for SMU rematch without Perry

Chris Perry will likely miss his second straight game due to chest pains when USF hosts SMU tonight. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

The Bulls look to get a hard-earned win against SMU at 7 tonight in the Sun Dome after five straight losses to conference opponents. 

USF will likely play without its second leading scorer and top rebounder, Chris Perry, who is still day-to-day with chest pains. 

Coach Orlando Antigua didn’t have an update on the status of Perry at practice Tuesday.

Perry’s absence is a big blow for the Bulls, as the sophomore starter scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in a win against SMU last season. 

Senior guard Corey Allen Jr. is hopeful Perry will recover and be on the court soon.

“It’s tough for him, but I know he’ll be fine and he’ll get through it,” Allen said. “I talked to him recently and he wants to get back on the floor as soon as possible.”

USF will need to match the intensity level of the Mustangs to avoid another 30-point blowout like the team’s last meeting on Dec. 31. 

The Bulls stayed in close contention with UConn on Sunday until senior guard Ryan Boatright scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half. 

“The guys have responded and the next man steps out and I thought they did a great job of competing and having a good second half until the game just got away from us,” Antigua said. 

Antigua said the key for the Bulls is consistency, especially given the young players and their lack of experience.

“The consistency level you need to have as a young group to win these games in the conference is difficult, and the only way you get that is experience,” Antigua said. “We’re going through that experience and some growing pains.”

These growing pains can be easily seen, especially in how the Bulls have been playing recently.

Other than an overtime loss to Tulane on Jan. 11, USF has lost its last five games by 10 points or more. In addition to that, the Bulls have failed to score 60 points in any game over that span. 

With Perry out of the game tonight, freshman forward Bo Zeigler said he’s looking to fill the void. 

“Chris plays a big role for us and he does a lot for us for rebounding and scoring, but I just want to come in, try to be aggressive and provide the same energy he brings to our team,” Zeigler said.