USF men’s basketball shocked the nation on Thursday night, recording one of the biggest wins in program history.
The Bulls (10-5, 3-1 AAC) completed a storied comeback to take down the No. 10 Tigers 74-73 – erasing a 20-point Memphis lead in the process.
Bulls coach Amir Abdur-Rahim has etched himself into program history in just his first season – not without recognizing the sacrifices of those who have come before him.
“It’s about all of those people who give us everything we need to be a great program,” he said at a postgame interview. “There have been coaches here before me that have set the foundation. All of those guys are a part of this.”
This marks USF’s first victory over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 19 Louisville on Feb. 27, 2012 and its first Top 10 win since defeating No. 7 Georgetown in 2010.
The Tigers (15-3, 4-1 AAC) jumped out to a quick first-half lead, with senior forward Daniel Jones scoring 18 of his 25 points in the first 20 minutes of action. They led the Bulls 47-32 after the first frame.
Memphis led by 15 after the half, its highest first-half lead this season.
The Bulls had eight turnovers in the first half, something Abdur-Rahim attributed to fast and undisciplined basketball.
“It’s a team on the road in a top 10 environment against a top 10 team and they’re trying to make every play, instead of just the simple play,” he said.
But the Bulls – freshly off a double-digit comeback win over Rice on Friday – have proven their tenacity this season.
Memphis was up as much as 20 in the second half before USF began chipping away at the lead.
The comeback ensued when USF managed to narrow the lead in the second half, sparked by an early 9-0 run with just over 17 minutes to play
But the Bulls weren’t finished yet, continuing to claw their way back into the game off the backs of their veterans.
Senior guard Selton Miguel and junior forward Kasean Pryor led the way in the second half, finishing with 23 and 21 points, respectively.
Pryor matched his historic performance against Rice last Friday by showing sheer physicality in the paint and his ability to draw fouls.
He sunk nine of his 11 free throw attempts, including two shots that brought the game to only one possession.
USF remained within one score from the lead throughout the rest of the game, trading buckets with Memphis as the clock continued.
After the Tigers missed a three-pointer, Abdur-Rahim called a timeout with 56 seconds left on the clock.
Abdur-Rahim previously expressed confidence in his freshman guard. He put the ball in Jayden Reid’s hands when the lights shined the brightest.
Reid – who was held scoreless throughout the first 39 minutes of action – drove to the bucket and tied the game at 73.
Abdur-Rahim praised Reid’s decision to take the shot despite shooting zero for six throughout the game.
“That tells you that kid has a resolve about him that he’s not afraid of the moment,” he said. “He’s a really good player to go in there and finish that layup.”
A Memphis turnover gave possession back to USF, leading to another timeout.
Pryor took the ball on the inbound, streaking past Memphis defenders to a wide-open basket. He was fouled by Tigers senior guard Nae’Qwan Tomlin, sending Pryor to the line.
Pryor made one shot and missed the second, giving USF a one-point lead. Senior Memphis guard Jahvon Quinerly failed to drill the game-winner.
The Tigers are the first Top 10 team to give up a 20-point lead at home since the 2010-11 season.
Abdur-Rahim said the impacts of the win extend far beyond the basketball program. He said that a win of this caliber is incremental to the university as it aims to rebuild a historically struggling men’s basketball program.
“Wherever we’re uncomfortable, we’re right at home,” he said.
USF has now won eight of its last 10 games, picking up its first road win of the season.
Next time out, USF will take on Wichita State. The Shockers (8-9, 0-4 AAC) are looking to earn their first conference win, having lost to FAU their last time out.
USF will face Wichita State at the Yuengling Center on Sunday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Bulls Unlimited.