Several games this season have witnessed South Florida (7-17, 1-10) fight their way out of early deficits. The ability to battle back and stick around late into ball games is a sign of toughness and maturity amongst the second youngest team in the nation. However, an early 2nd half comeback wasn’t enough to secure a victory, as the Bulls fell to Cincinnati (17-6, 8-3) in a 63-58 contest. The loss is USF’s ninth straight.
Already without forward Chris Perry, a sickness to starter Nehemias Morillo forced Orlando Antigua to start Troy Holston Jr. for the 3rd time this season. With the absence of two of their regular starters and a sub 30% shooting performance, things came out of sorts for USF early on. The Bearcats jumped out to a 28-12 lead with 4:42 remaining in the first half where at that point, it seemed that another blowout was in store for Antigua’s guys.
Despite the sluggish start, the second half told a completely different story. The Bulls raced off to a 21-6 run right out of the locker room to take a 41-37 lead at the 10:49 mark of the second half. The effort was sparked by the offensive prowess of team leading scorer Corey Allen Jr., who finished with 18 points, and Holston, ho utilized his start to score a career high 16 points, including connecting on four from downtown. However, the lack of offensive production from other starters allowed the Bearcats to regain the lead in the final ten minutes and seal the Bulls to their ninth consecutive loss. Farad Cobb led the way for Cincinnati with 16 points off the bench, while standout forward Octavius Ellis added 8 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.
For USF, it’s the same song, different dance as they head next to rival UCF on Wednesday February 11th.