Dominant second half lifts USF men’s basketball to 6-2

It was a tale of two halves as USF men’s basketball defeated Colgate 73-63 on Friday night at the Yuengling Center.

The Bulls  trailed Colgate 36-34 heading into the halftime break after allowing the Raiders to shoot 46 percent from the field and 44 percent from three-point range. In the second half, Colgate shot 30 percent from the field and 25 percent from three-point range.

“I think we came [into halftime], we knew they were shooting a good percentage in the first half and we had to pick it up,” sophomore David Collins said. “I think it was more of the intensity than it was the defense — we just started playing harder and the shots [for Colgate] weren’t falling as much.”

After the game, coach Brian Gregory praised his team for finding a way to win even when they didn’t play well at times.

“We did a lot of good things, and it kind of shows how we need to win games,” Gregory said. “We hung close, even when we weren’t playing as well, we didn’t panic when they were making some threes in the first half. I did not think our defense was where it needed to be in the first half, and the numbers proved it, but we weren’t too far off.”

Despite leading for almost 24 minutes in the game, Colgate (5-3) never led by more than six points, coming midway through the first half. The Bulls (6-2) hung close until they were able to go on a run of their own.

That run was a 15-2 run late in the second half, when the Bulls took a lead they did not surrender thanks to a dunk by Michael Durr with 5:50 remaining in the game.

For the game, USF shot 47 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free throw line.

Collins led all scorers in the game with 20 points, posting his fourth 20-point game of the season. Joining Collins in double-figures was Alexis Yetna with 14 points and Laquincy Rideau with 12 points.

The win was a milestone win for USF; it was the Bulls’ sixth in the month of November, matching a program record set during the 2009-10 season. For the Brian Gregory era, in year “Negative One,” as Gregory calls it, the win was satisfying.

“It’s a great milestone for us, because it shows that we are making progress and we are trying to do it the right way and doing it with a bunch of new guys again, and you take those,” Gregory said. “Those are markers along the way that you can sell to your guys, ‘Look, this is what we’re doing.’ It’s a long road from where we were at to where we want to get to, but there’s got to be steps along the way.”

USF’s sixth victory of the season also came much sooner than it did last season, as that did not come until Dec. 18 during the 2017-18 season.

Next up for the Bulls is over a week off before hitting the road to take on Charlotte on Dec. 9 before returning to the Yuengling Center on Dec. 15 to take on Appalachian State.