Coming off a narrow two-point win over Houston on Wednesday to end an 11-game skid, USF couldn’t string together back-to-back wins, falling to East Carolina 73-60 on Sunday in Greenville, North Carolina.
USF (8-20, 2-13) got off to an early start with freshman guard Troy Holston Jr. scoring eight of his 13 points in the first six minutes as the Bulls jumped to a 12-5 lead.
The Bulls shot 52.9 percent from the floor in the first half, but couldn’t sustain their success on offense.
“In the first half, there was a span of us compounding errors with bad shots, not posting up and not boxing out,” coach Orlando Antigua said. “Offensively, I thought we were in a nice groove, and then we just stopped.”
Senior guard Corey Allen Jr. scored a game-high 28 points in the loss, with 25 coming in the second half.
Allen leads the team with 15.3 points per game and no other current starter is averaging more than nine.
“We made it into a scrappy game at the end, and that fits Corey’s style because then we were getting up and down the floor,” Antigua said.
Allen did it all on the court, going 4-of-9 from beyond the arc, pulling down a game-high eight rebounds and sunk all eight of his free throw attempts.
After falling behind by 22 with 10 minutes left in the game, USF tried to rally, outscoring the Pirates by nine in the final 10 minutes, but ECU (12-15, 5-9) knocked down 15 of its 21 free-throw attempts in the final five minutes to seal the victory.
“You’ve got to give East Carolina credit,” Antigua said. “They made the plays. We just didn’t compete for 40 minutes like we wanted to.”