The USF men’s basketball team took another loss on Wednesday night. This time, it was to in-state neighbor, UCF, by a score of 72-55. The Bulls’ losing skid stands at six games.
The Knights were in control from A.J. Davis’ first basket of the game until the final score of the game. The closest the Bulls came to leading was a 2-2 tie a minute-and-a-half into the game. By the halfway mark of the first half, UCF was already up 22-12. USF would then go on a 12-3 run to get within one, 25-24 with just under six minutes remaining in the first half. But, the Knights would strike back, ending the period on an 8-2 run of their own to go up 33-27 at the halftime break.
Not much would change in the second half. The two teams played close for the first six minutes, with the Knights holding a 41-38 edge. The Bulls wouldn’t get that close again for the remainder of the game, getting outscored 31-19 down the stretch.
The Knights got a lot of help from A.J. Davis and B.J. Taylor, who scored 26 and 21 points, respectively, more than half of the team’s offensive output. Davis also had a game-leading nine rebounds. Dayon Griffin was the only other Knight in double digit scoring. He finished with 12 points.
The only USF players to score more than ten points were David Collins, with 15, and Isaiah Manderson, who scored 13. Thirteen of Collins’ points came in the first half.
The Knights outshot the Bulls, 52% to 44% from the field, and 50% to 44% from beyond the arc.
After the game, USF men’s head basketball coach, Brian Gregory, was asked about his team’s performance. Noting that UCF has one of the top scoring defenses in the nation (3rd, 61.4 PPG), Gregory added, “We’ve played fairly well against them offensively.”
He wasn’t happy with the team’s ability to get to the free throw line, though. “Didn’t get to the free throw enough tonight,” he said. “We gotta do a better of job of, when we drive it, either kick out or make sure the foul is called.”
Up next for the Knights, who are now 16-9 (7-6) with the win, is a home tilt against 15-1
The Bulls will take their road trip to the lower Midwest to visit 14-10 (7-5) Tulsa. This is the second matchup for the pair, this season. The Golden Hurricane beat the Bulls, 63-54 in Tampa. Tipoff is 3:00 PM EST on Sunday, 2-18.