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Bulls tie 30-year program record in win over Charleston Southern

Senior Tyler Harris finished the game with five three-pointers, the second time he has done so this season. ORACLE PHOTO/ALEXANDRA URBAN

A hot performance from the three-point line propelled USF men’s basketball’s blowout win over Charleston Southern 79-59 Friday night in the Yuengling Center.

South Florida (3-6) made 14-of-31 shots from beyond the arc against CSU (2-5), tying a program record set on Dec. 7, 1991 against Oral Roberts.

Friday’s shooting performance helped the Bulls break the game open early, knocking down 40% of their 15 three-point attempts in the first half.

Over the past few games, the Bulls have found their offensive stride which has been key to their recent success. During the 2022-23 season, they went 3-0 in contests in which they scored 70 points or more.

The Bulls were able to achieve this scoring mark through selfless play. Out of their 29 shots made, 22 were assisted on. Coach Brian Gregory attributed the Bulls’ willingness to share the ball to why their offense generated quality looks.

“Those extra passes that we were throwing were just tremendous,” Gregory said. “Twenty-two assists, 29 baskets and just really unselfish basketball, which led to good shots both inside and outside.”

Four USF players ended the game scoring in double figures including senior guard Tyler Harris, who dropped 15 points all of which came in the first half. Junior center Russel Tchewa also had a well-rounded game, finishing with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists. He also made all six of his free throws.

While the Bulls’ offense came to play, their defense held its ground, holding the Buccaneers to under 40% field-goal shooting.

CSU relied heavily on perimeter shooting, attempting roughly 28 threes a game before Friday night’s contest, but only shot 12% from beyond the arc against USF. Gregory emphasized how important it was to chase the Buccaneers’ shooters off the line to give the Bulls a better chance at winning.

“We wanted to guard the dribble well, so we wouldn’t give up drive and kicks and we wanted to be on their three-point shooters,” Gregory said. “We held them to 2-for-18 from the three which was just tremendous on our end.”

After dropping the first five games of the season, USF has won three out of its last four. Harris said the team is trying to stay present in light of their recent success.

“Right now we’re gonna enjoy this win and basically we got to look at it like we haven’t done anything yet, just still going back to the drawing board, working hard,” Harris said. “We still got a long way to go, so we know that we just got to keep it going. Three out of four is good, but we are looking at the bigger picture.”

After a break for exams, South Florida hits the road to Cedar Falls to face Northern Iowa on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Bulls Unlimited.