South Florida gives up double-digit lead in loss to Wichita State

Senior guard Tyler Harris, USF’s leading scorer, put up 16 points in a loss against Wichita State. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

South Florida men’s basketball was defeated by Wichita State 70-66 on Sunday afternoon at the Yuengling Center, marking its third straight loss.

The Bulls (7-9, 0-3 AAC) were hoping to get back into the winning column after two close losses to Memphis and Temple. Before those games, USF boasted a five-game winning streak.

After a back-and-forth first half, USF managed to pull away with a six point lead, holding WSU (8-8, 1-3 AAC) to a nearly three minute scoring drought. The Bulls led by as much as 14 in the second half, yet saw their lead shrink as the minutes crunched to single digits. Wichita State managed to bring the game to a 61-61 tie with less than three minutes on the clock.

WSU then went on a 6-1 run over the next two minutes to lead 67-62 with 43 seconds on the clock. The Bulls couldn’t make it a one possession game after a missed layup by senior guard Tyler Harris with eight seconds left.

Senior center Russel Tchewa continued to dominate the court, posting a second straight double-double. He finished the game with a team high of 19 points and 10 rebounds, shooting eight for nine from the floor. Harris followed with 16 points, but shot only 31% from the floor.

Coach Brian Gregory expressed his frustration over the team’s recent slump, especially when it comes to foul trouble.

“It’s been the case in all three losses. Too many free throws in the second half and our inability to get defensive stops,” Gregory said.

Wichita State has now won seven straight games over the Bulls, with USF’s last victory dating back to 2019.

Sunday’s loss marks South Florida’s third straight conference loss. USF will now head west to play Houston, the conference leader and arguably one of the top teams in the country.

Houston is ranked number one in the AP poll, and has won three out of the last four AAC championships. Cougars forward Jarace Walker is considered to be one of the best players in the country and a first round NBA prospect.

South Florida will face Houston on Wednesday at 8 P.M. at the Fertitta Center. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and BullsUnlimited.