The USF Bulls men’s basketball team extends their losing streak to seven games after blowing a lead late against the UCF Knights, 71-69.  The Bulls had led 29 minutes of the game, blowing a five point lead with less than seven minutes left in the game.

USF controlled the first half of the game, leading by seven going into halftime.  Stephan Jiggets came out strong, scoring 13 in the first half, three of which were from beyond the arc.  The Bulls held the Knights to just 38% shooting in the period. 

The second half began like the first, with USF maintaining control throughout.  Several times they led by eight points and had a five point lead with less than seven minutes to go.  UCF’s B.J. Taylor made a jumper for two and followed it up with a three pointer to tie the game at 56 with 5:49 remaining.  The Bulls would get the lead back a couple more times, but the final three minutes were all UCF, who built up an eight point lead with just over a minute to go.  It was all the Bulls could do to get within two points with two seconds on the clock.  The Knights smartly played the inbound, lofting the ball to run out the clock.

Jiggets would finish the game strong, scoring a total of 21 points for the Bulls.  Freshman guard, David Collins, was the next high scorer with 14 points and five assists.  Fellow freshman, Justin Brown, scored a dozen points. 

UCF had just two players scoring in double digits in their first game since losing center, Tacko Fall, for the season.  Taylor carried the team, scoring 25 points.  Chad Brown, forward for the Knights, was the only other UCF player to break ten, scoring 13. 

After the game, USF head coach, Brian Gregory, was asked about a matchup between Malik Martin and Taylor, when the latter’s three point shot tied the game. 

“No, no,” said Gregory. “We had the right coverage, you know.  It was end of the clock ball coverage situation.  We feel comfortable switching Malik on a guard like that, using his length.” 

Martin’s hands were down when the shot went up.  Tying the game moved the momentum to Knights, who controlled the game from that point on.

Gregory was also asked about the departure of Tulio Da Silva.  “I’m excited about the players we got and the guys we’re bringing in,” he said.   “You know what I mean?  We’re going to build something special here.  It’s not always easy.”

Surviving the scare, the Knights improve to 13-6 (4-3).  They will have to clean up their game before heading to #7 / 4 Wichita State on Thursday, January 25th.  The Shockers were upset in Houston and will be ready to for action when UCF comes to town.

For the Bulls, who have now lost seven straight, their record drops to 7-13 (0-7).  They’re not Wichita State, but Tulane has 12 wins and will be a tough opponent at home for USF.  That game is also on Thursday, January 25th

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