The USF Bulls end the 2017-18 regular season with a two game win streak after beating the SMU Mustangs, 64-54 in Tampa on Sunday. After starting the season 13-6, SMU went 2-9 in their last 11 games. The Bulls capped an eight game losing streak after beating Memphis on Wednesday.

The Mustangs controlled the first half, with the Bulls trailing all but one minute of play. SMU’s biggest lead in the period game 11 minutes in when a Jimmy Whitt layup put them up by eight, 17-9. Whitt’s eight points would lead all scorers in the first half. The Mustangs led 27-22 at the halftime break.

After the break, back-to-back three pointers by USF’s David Collins and Stephan Jiggetts quickly tied the game at 27. Terrence Samuel would sink a pair of free throws after that to give USF the lead for the first time since the opening minutes, 29-27, and the Bulls would lead the rest of the way. They would then go on a 14-6 run to go up by eight, 41-33 with 13 minutes remaining in the game. The biggest lead of the game by either team came on a Malik Martin dunk with 29 seconds to go, putting the Bulls up by 14.

Ethan Chargois was the top scoring Mustang, with 15 points. Close behind was Jimmy Whitt, who had 14. No other SMU player scored in double-digits, but Ben Emelogu had 11 rebounds. Jahmal McMurray, who has been a leading scorer for SMU, averaging more than 14 points a game, was a non-factor against his former team.   McMurray was held to half of his average, scoring just seven points.

USF’s freshman rising star, David Collins, scored 21 points in the game, 18 of which came in the second half. Malik Martin and Stephan Jiggetts scored 15 and 14 points, respectively. Samuel led the team with 12 rebounds.

SMU ends the season 16-15 (6-12) after showing strength early on. They’ll look forward to beginning American Athletic Conference play in Orlando this week. As of now, they look like a nine seed, with their first game coming at noon on Thursday.

The Bulls ended their rebuilding year on a high note, winning their last two games against respectable opposition. They finish the regular season 10-21 (3-15), but are likely hoping to make some noise in the conference tournament, themselves. As the likely 12th seed in the tournament, they’ll play in game two on Thursday at 2 PM. All of Thursday’s games will be broadcast on ESPNU.

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