The South Florida Bulls came up just short of what would’ve been a monumental upset of the highly touted and talented Houston Cougars squad last Wednesday, falling 83-77. USF guard Tyler Harris scored 31 of the Bulls’ 77 points, finishing the contest 9-of-13 (69%) from the floor and 7-of-8 from the free throw line (87.5%). From beyond the arc Harris made the Cougars pay, scoring 18 of his 31 points behind astounding 6-for-10 shooting (60%).
Notably, Harris made an extremely talented Cougars defensive unit look nothing more than average. After lighting the nets on fire for 31 on the No. 1 team in the land should inject major confidence in the Memphis native, and become the catalyst to fuel the senior guard to continue to elevate his game on the big stage.
Russel Tchewa added 14 points and 8 rebounds on 3-for-5 shooting. The Bulls got a big boost off the bench from 6’5″ junior guard Jamir Chaplin, who scored 14 points in 22 minutes on the court going 6-of-9 against the top-ranked Cougars. In the first four conference games, Harris is averaging 18.2 points per game.
Despite the six-point loss, Brian Gregory’s South Florida Bulls (7-10, 0-4 AAC) played its best game in conference play so far in 2022-23. But riding a four-game losing streak, the Bulls sit at 7-10 overall and 0-4 in AAC play. The 0-4 conference start is the program’s worst since 2017-18. Sure, losing four in a row sucks. However, taking the top team in the country down to the final minutes should be a bright spot for Brian Gregory’s team.
Overall, USF shot 48.9% from the floor and 47.6% from the three-point line. The Bulls out rebounded Houston 36-30, but committed a whopping 18 turnovers. South Florida’s largest lead was five points, which came with 13:40 left in the game and a 53-48 lead. USF was down just by one point, 37-36, at the half.
For Houston, Marcus Sasser took the game into his own hands. Sasser scored 31 points on 7-of-17 shooting and 11-of-14 at the free throw line. Just when USF would get close, Sasser was there to extend the lead. The Bulls couldn’t figure out a way to pressure the Dallas native enough to shutdown his lethal shooting ability from beyond the arc.
Following the loss to No. 1 Houston, the Bulls continue conference play on the road and will travel to face the East Carolina Pirates on Sunday. Tip off is set for 1 PM EST on ESPN2.