Despite outscoring and outshooting No. 20 Houston (20-5, 9-2) in the second half, USF men’s basketball (11-13, 4-7) had its three-game winning streak snapped after falling 62-58 to the AAC-leading Cougars on Wednesday night at the Yuengling Center.
The loss extends USF’s losing streak against nationally ranked teams. The Bulls have not defeated a top-25 team since Feb. 29, 2012, when they defeated Louisville on the road.
USF shot 10-of-21 from the field in the second half compared with Houston’s 9-of-25. From 3-point range, the Bulls shot 4-of-9, while Houston was 3-of-9.
“I thought we responded really well in those last 10 minutes,” coach Brian Gregory said. “[I] talked to our guys with eight minutes to go and said, ‘Let’s get this game within reach.’”
At the free-throw line, however, Houston outperformed USF — the Cougars went 11-of-12 while USF went 18-of-26.
Houston also outscored the Bulls on second-chance points 17-2, thanks to the Cougars’ 13 offensive rebounds. USF had nine.
“We’ve just got to be more physical on the glass and just cut out,” senior Laquincy Rideau said. “A lot of guys did a lot of ball watching as the shot goes up.
“We’ve just got to be more physical on the glass.”
Cougars sophomore Quentin Grimes led all scorers with 22 points, going 6-of-14 from the field and was 3-of-6 from 3-point range.
Rideau led the scoring for the Bulls with 21 points — 16 were scored in the second half alone.
Houston picked up the opening basket two minutes into the first half, a 3-pointer from Grimes. It took USF over five minutes to find its opening basket, a layup from sophomore Rashun Williams.
By halftime, the Bulls trailed 31-26 and were 7-of-22 from the field.
Redshirt freshman Madut Adkec led all scorers at the half with seven points — four were scored at the free-throw line. He finished the first 20 minutes perfect from the line.
Despite forcing more turnovers in the first half, USF was outscored on points off turnovers. The Cougars scored nine points off their five turnovers. The Bulls only managed four points from their seven.
USF went 2-of-10 from 3-point range, but it was a 3-pointer that was a spark for the Bulls.
Akec scored from distance with 6:07 left in the half. His basket led to a 9-0 run by USF, cutting a seven-point Cougar lead to just one.
In the final minutes of the first half, the Cougars broke USF’s run, scoring five consecutive points.
Houston finished the half with a 7-3 run to ensure a five-point lead heading into the locker room.
Next up: vs. Tulsa on Saturday at noon (TV: ESPNU | Radio: Bulls Unlimited)