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USF takes down Wichita State in narrow victory

Junior forward Kasean Pryor scored 25 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Wichita State on Sunday. It was his third consecutive 20-point performance. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

USF men’s basketball notched its third straight conference victory with a 72-68 win over Wichita State on Sunday afternoon.

The Bulls (11-5, 4-1 AAC) came into the game after a dramatic 20-point come-from-behind victory over No. 10 Memphis on Thursday – the second-largest comeback in school history.

Bulls coach Amir Abdur-Rahim reminded the team of the importance of consistency after their win on Thursday, and the potential dangers of being a “hot” team.

“You don’t want to be a hot team. A consistent team is a dangerous team,” he said. “A hot team you can beat any day, because if you’re hot, you can be cooled off.” 

But with a win over Wichita State (8-10, 0-5 AAC), USF took another step forward to prove that Thursday’s upset was anything but a fluke. 

Related: Takeaways from USF’s dramatic win over No. 10 Memphis

Neither squad was able to pull away in a back-and-forth first half.

The Shockers built an eight-point lead late in the first before the Bulls were able to storm back. 

A layup by junior Wichita State guard Harlond Beverly extended the lead by three as the Shockers headed into the half up 35-32. 

The Bulls built their lead in the second half, going on a 16-0 run. 

Junior forward Kasean Pryor scored 10 points during the span. 

But the Shockers battled back, keeping the score within one possession throughout the game’s final few minutes. 

With the Bulls holding a two point lead with eight seconds to play they once again found themselves in a nail-biting late-game scenario. That is, until a pair of free throws by Pryor secured the win. 

Pryor racked up his third consecutive 20-point performance, finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds. 

Related: USF’s on a hot streak. But can it beat a ranked opponent?

Senior guard Jose Placer followed with 17 points, shooting six of seven from the floor. 

Placer credited Abdur-Rahim, and the rest of the coaching staff to preparing the team for the game just days after its first victory over an AP Top 10 team since 2010. 

The win over Wichita State marks the first time USF is 4-1 in conference play in over two decades. As the Bulls inch closer to NCAA Tournament selection, wins like these spur hope that the program can earn its first tournament bid since 2012. 

“Enjoy it, but don’t stay in it,” Placer said. “We’ve got to keep building, because we think about the bigger picture.”

USF will face Temple on Wednesday at the Liacouras Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN+ and Bulls Unlimited.