USF led 52-46 with 8:40 on the clock, but Louisville closed the game with an 11-2 run to capture the victory.
Senior James Holmes led the Bulls with 16 points and classmate Solomon Jones chipped in 11 points and 12 rebounds for his 10th double-double of the campaign. Jones was limited to just 27 minutes because of foul trouble.
The Bulls trailed 32-26 at the half thanks in large part to the offensive production of Jones. The center concluded the opening 20 minutes with 11 points and five rebounds, including a tough fade away jumper right before the final buzzer.
USF shot 50 percent from the field in the opening frame, despite Holmes and Buckley combining to shoot 3-of-11 from the field. Junior Collin Dennis aided in the offensive effort with a pair of treys off the bench.
Turnovers continued to plague the squad, as 12 miscues led to 13 Cardinal points in the first half. UL also made 11 trips to the charity stripe prior to halftime, while the Bulls managed just a single appearance.
A 3-pointer by Buckley capped an 8-2 run by the Bulls to start the second half and the score was 34-34 at the 16:48 mark. Holmes scored the first five points following the break, forcing UL head coach Rick Pitino to use an early timeout.
With Jones on the bench following his fourth personal foul at the 13:03 mark, USF and Louisville traded baskets until the Bulls finally pulled away to take a 52-46 advantage on a pair of Holmes free throws with 7:49 left.
The Bulls led 54-51 after Buckley's free throws with 3:44 on the clock, but back-to-back treys by UL's Brandon Jenkins and Taquan Dean proved to be the difference.
USF was held to just two points in the final 8:40, but neither squad was able to net a basket in the final 2:47.
USF, which opened a stretch of four road games in five outings with its matchup against Louisville, continues the BIG EAST schedule at Notre Dame Feb. 15.
|Assists||C Capko||4||P Johnson||2|
|Rebounds||S Jones||12||T Dean||9|
|Steals||M Mattis||2||B Jenkins||4|
|Blocks||M Mattis||1||J Palacios||1|
|Minutes||J Holmes||40||B Jenkins||39|
|South Florida Starters|
|J Holmes, G||40||6-16||2-10||2-2||0||3||4||16|
|M Buckley, F||36||4-13||3-10||2-2||3||1||1||13|
|S Jones, C||27||5-9||0-0||1-1||12||0||5||11|
|M Mattis, F||35||2-3||0-0||2-2||10||0||3||6|
|C Capko, G||34||1-4||0-1||0-0||2||4||1||2|
|South Florida Bench|
|T Dean, G||38||7-15||4-7||3-4||9||2||0||21|
|B Jenkins, G||39||4-8||1-2||2-5||2||2||2||11|
|J Palacios, F||20||1-3||0-2||0-2||4||0||3||2|
|P Johnson, F||16||1-2||0-0||0-0||3||2||1||2|
|D Padgett, C||11||1-3||0-0||0-0||2||0||2||2|