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Men’s basketball’s inconsistencies lead to 84-66 loss against Tulane

Freshman guard Ryan Conwell scored a career-high 20 points in Saturday’s loss against Tulane. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

The Bulls (11-16, 4-10 AAC) could not continue their stellar play from earlier this week, suffering a 84-66 loss in a disappointing outing against Tulane.

USF scored 96 points against the Golden Hurricanes on Wednesday, setting a program record for points scored in a conference game.

South Florida shot at a poor 39%, struggling to move the ball inside. The Bulls also had difficulties maintaining possession of the ball, committing 16 costly turnovers.

In an all-around loss, the Bulls’ offense struggled to gain consistent scoring while the defense was overpowered by a sharp Green Wave (17-7, 10-3 AAC) offense.

Tulane sophomore guard Jalen Cook torched the Bulls’ defense with 30 points off 11 of 20 shooting. Junior forward Kevin Cross added another 19 points.

The Green Wave’s offense proved to be too much for the Bulls’ defense to handle, with three players scoring over 15 points. Tulane shot the ball at a respectable 48%.

Guard Tyler Harris continued his storied senior season by scoring 19 points, which added three shots beyond the arc to his AAC-record total. Junior center Russell Tchewa controlled the rim, grabbing a season-high 15 rebounds.

Freshman guard Ryan Conwell played the best game of his young collegiate career, scoring a season-high 20 points. Conwell has had a recent string of solid performances. He and Harris combined brought 39 of the Bulls’ 66 points on Saturday.

Coach Brian Gregory said Conwell’s breakout performance against Tulane adds to his already impressive freshman season.

“He’s about as solid as anyone we have, and maybe more so on the defensive end,” Gregory said.

“He’s aggressive, he’s not scared of the moment. You expect to see that growth,” Gregory said.

Conwell is averaging 5.0 points per game off 18 minutes per game this season. He was a three-star prospect coming out of Pike High School in Indianapolis, Indiana before committing to the Bulls in September 2021.

Despite Conwell’s performance, Gregory was largely disappointed with his team’s offensive output.

“You just can’t keep giving a team of that caliber opportunities to extend the lead,” he said.

South Florida will travel to interstate rival Central Florida for the final War on I-4 matchup. The Knights (15-10, 6-7 AAC) were previously defeated by the Bulls on Jan. 21 by a score of 85-72. Freshman forward Taylor Hendricks is an NBA first round prospect and leads the Knights with 14.9 points per game.

USF will take on UCF on Wednesday at Addition Financial Arena. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Bulls Unlimited.