MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Martino Brock heated up in his hometown with a game-high 17 points, but the Bulls couldn’t cool off No. 23 Memphis from long range in an 80-58 loss Sunday afternoon before a crowd of 15,627 at FedExForum.
Memphis went 7-for-12 from 3-point range after the break and 10-for-22 overall in its second win over the Bulls this season. The Tigers (15-4, 5-2) ranked ninth in the American Athletic Conference in 3-point field goal percentage heading into Sunday.
“They’re getting them in a rhythm against us and that’s the difference,” head coach Stan Heath said. “We’re not making them take tough threes with a hand in their face and somebody running at them.”
Four Tigers finished in double figures with Chris Crawford posting five 3-pointers and 15 points. Joe Jackson added 14 points, Nick King finished with 10 points and Shaq Goodwin posted his third double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds to help Memphis conclude a four-game homestand with a 3-1 record.
Brock got into double figures for the seventh time this season and his 17 points set a season high, much to the enjoyment of his family members and friends in the stands. The senior was the lone Bull in double figures after going 7-for-15 from the field with six rebounds and two assists.
“I could tell he had that extra pep in his step and he wanted to play well,” Heath said. “He was very aggressive, he took care of the basketball well and he was good in transition. He was kind of a bright spot today.”
Corey Allen Jr. finished with nine points, freshman Josh Heath added six assists and Javontae Hawkins posted seven points off the bench in the Bulls’ fourth consecutive loss, three against top-25 opponents.
The Bulls' offense did prove to be up for the task early on in the 23rd meeting between the programs.
Victor Rudd sank a pair of free throws to give the Bulls a 10-9 lead nearly 5 minutes in and Brock put USF back ahead, 12-11, at the 14:15 mark.
“We got off to a great start doing what we wanted to do and needed to do, getting the ball inside, doing a good job on the boards and handling the pressure,” Heath said. “Right around the 4-minute timeout we’re talking as a staff and coach (Donnie) Marsh said, ‘Coach, we have to be really careful right here because Memphis is one of those teams, they just kind of close halves on these runs.’ ”
A jumper by Rudd cut the Memphis lead to 21-20 with 7:16 remaining but the Tigers closed with the type of run Marsh was talking about. Chris Perry’s dunk cut the deficit to 24-22 with 4:15 to play and the Bulls went scoreless the rest of the way while Memphis added 10 points.
“They went on that run and it was keyed off by those turnovers against the press,” Heath said. “That started a wave and one of those things our team really has to get better at is we struggle with adversity.”
USF’s run against tough conference opponents continues 7 p.m. Tuesday against SMU at the Sun Dome. Zach LeDay scored a team-high 12 points in the Bulls’ 71-54 loss in Dallas on Jan. 15.
“We’ve had a monster slate with three ranked teams in a row and SMU is probably the next-best team out of the group,” Heath said. “We have one day of preparation for this and we have to do a good job of getting our guys’ minds mentally right for this game and being able to guard and generate some offense in this game.”
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