IN THE CROSSHAIRS

Bulls Win 15th Consecutive; Subdue Tulane, 85-72

Ken Cross

March 09, 2024 at 1:35 am.

TAMPA, Fla. – The South Florida Bulls are writing their regular season story with exclamation points! It’s a motivating story of the past four-plus months and what the month of March could allow.

Guard Chris Youngblood scored a season-high 29 points as he led four Bulls in double figures in an 85-72 win over the struggling Tulane Green Wave on Tuesday evening.

Youngblood spaced his scoring throughout the game, but he led the Bulls on two deciding runs in the later part of the second half. The transfer from Kennesaw State scored six of eight points in a quick 8-2 run that pushed a 61-60 advantage to 69-62 when he made a pair of free throws with 9:39 remaining in the game.

After the Green Wave had cut South Florida’s lead back to 69-67, Youngblood and Brandon Stroud combined for nine points as the Bulls took a 78-67 advantage with 3:22 to play.

“The talk of the timeout before that was to focus on getting stops,” said Youngblood. “They were scoring a little bit more than we would like. Once we get our defense going, there is no telling what we would be able to do next.”

Youngblood was the overall scoring leader, and he was joined by three Bulls in double figures as Kasean Pryor netted 13 points, while Selton Miguel and Jayden Reid scored 12 and 11, respectively.

“It’s the beauty of this team,” said South Florida head coach Amir Abdur-Rahim. “Chris gets 29 and you get three more in double figures and two more with eight (Kobe Knox) and seven (Brandon Stroud). He stepped up and he did his job.”

Pryor was able to get the Bulls started after they trailed Tulane, 7-0. He scored South Florida’s first seven points and then Youngblood netted a three as the Bulls took their first lead at 10-9 with 14:43 to play before halftime.

He also helped put an end to a major Green Wave run as guard Jaylin Forbes nailed four three-point field goals in 2:34 as Tulane took a 36-32 lead.

Pryor scored five points late in the first half as USF retook the lead at 37-36 on his layup in transition. Then, he hit a triple off the left wing and allowed USF to take a 44-43 lead at halftime after Forbes’ fifth triple of the first half.

The defensive approach after halftime was impactful for the Bulls. Tulane made 16-of-29 shots in the first half, but the Bulls’ held the Green Wave to only 33 percent from the field in the second half.

“It wasn’t as much of an adjustment, as much as trying to stick to the game plan when they’re trying to get paint touches,” commented Abdur-Rahim. “They had 32 points in the paint. To hold them eight below, that was a big deal.”

The Bulls limited the Green Wave from the floor in the second half. They just needed to hold to their defensive game plan to move through the second half and pick up the win.

“Trying to get into the gap or make them pass,” explained Abdur-Rahim. “Their game is 17-feet and in. I thought our guys did better in the second half giving support.”

 

On Point: Freshman Jayden Reid has been a solid addition at point guard for USF this entire season as he averaged 23.6 minutes per game and started 13 of his 27 outings.

Reid scored 11 points and dished six assists in 19:31 as he quarterbacked the offense into his version of a run late in the first half.

“If he doesn’t win Freshman of the Year in the American Conference, it’s a travesty,” Abdur-Rahim said. “That’s not to say the other freshmen in the conference don’t deserve it. You show me another freshman who has impacted winning.”

Reid made a pair of threes and hit two free throws in about 2:41 as he gave the Bulls a 39-38 lead with the two free throws, just 1:20 before halftime.

“Go look at his production and his numbers and he has impacted,” the coach explained. “He is not averaging 18 or 19 a game, but he has impacted winning at a high level.”

 

Super Selton: Selton Miguel came over from Kansas State and this season, he has extended his game and has been prolific in many areas.

He was the second-leading scorer, averaging 14.9 points per game, while making 40.4 percent of his triples.

Tuesday night, he was once again a solid presence as he played 34 minutes and scored 12 points while directing the offense.

“He knows how much I love him, but this dude right here is the MVP of our team,” Abdur-Rahim analyzed. “There’s no question about it. He trusted me when he didn’t have to.”

Miguel realized the appreciation that Abdur-Rahim had for him.

“He impacted my life since he got here,” said Miguel, a native of Luanda, Angola. “Just being my mentor in being here as a coach. He is somebody who has been here since my beginning.”