Bulls Host No. 21 Memphis Sunday on ESPN2

Matchup: USF (8-8, 1-2) vs. Memphis (12-3, 1-1)
Date: 
Sunday, Jan. 12
Time:
 4 p.m. 
Location: 
Tampa, Fla. | Yuengling Center
TV: 
ESPN2 (Bob Wischusen, Dick Vitale)
Radio: 
Bulls Unlimited (Jim Lighthall, Joey Johnston)

TAMPA, FLA., JAN. 11, 2020 – The USF men’s basketball team looks for its first win over a ranked team this season when the Bulls welcome No. 21 Memphis to the Yuengling Center Sunday at 4 p.m. for a matchup broadcast live on ESPN2. 

Legendary ESPN analyst Dick Vitale will be on the call and is making his first appearance at the Yuengling Center since USF hosted Memphis in 2002. In addition, Vitale was instrumental in ushering in the Yuengling Center when he called the dedication game in 1980 when the Bulls hosted Duke in Mike Krzyzewski’s second career game with the Blue Devils. 

Last season against Memphis, USF raced out to a 19-0 lead and later held a 27-1 advantage before the Tigers made their first field goal. Memphis rallied in the second half and pulled within single digits, but 20 points from David Collins (Youngstown, Ohio) and 19 from Justin Brown (Atlanta) lifted USF to an 84-78 win. USF will attempt to defeat Memphis for the second straight time for the first time in school history.

USF (8-8, 1-2) suffered a heartbreaking 62-59 loss Tuesday at East Carolina despite receiving 16 points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals from senior guard Laquincy Rideau (West Palm Beach, Fla.) Rideau enters play Sunday third in The American with 4.3 assists per game and first with 2.7 steals per game in his quest to become the first player in league history to lead in both categories in back-to-back seasons. Rideau also stands second on the team with 13.4 points per game and is third in rebounding with 4.6 boards per contest. 

Collins added 14 points and four rebounds Tuesday against East Carolina. Collins leads the USF offense with 14.5 points per game and is only 31 points shy of moving up a spot into 16th on the USF all-time scoring list. Collins also records 2.1 steals per game to rank third in The American and 36th in the NCAA, making USF the only school in the NCAA with two players ranked in the top 40 in steals per game.

Brown pulled down a career-best 13 rebounds against East Carolina and now ranks second on the team with 5.1 per game. Brown is also third on the squad with 8.2 points per game and has made a team-best 27 three-pointers. Sophomore Michael Durr (Atlanta) tops USF with 6.5 rebounds per game and ranks 16th in The American.

THE OPPONENT
Memphis (12-3, 1-1) has dropped its last two games after falling 76-67 at Wichita State on Thursday night. The Tigers trailed by as many as 19 points in the second half before trimming the lead down to six, but Wichita State pushed the lead back to double digits in the final three minutes to hang on for the victory. Memphis saw its 10-game winning streak snapped the game before in a 65-62 home loss to Georgia.

Freshman forward Precious Achiuwa leads Memphis and ranks third in The American with 15.1 points per game. Achiuwa also paces the Tigers and the conference with 10.3 rebounds per game. Freshman forward D.J. Jeffries adds 11.4 points per game and freshman guard Lester Quinones stands third on the team with 10.6 points per game. 

QUOTABLE
“There is definitely a lot of buzz around town and campus in regards to the game, and we’re very excited about the opportunity to play a top 25 team like Memphis. They’ve got a ton of talent and Coach Hardaway has done a great job with them because they play so hard too. It’s going to be a great challenge for us.” — USF Head Coach Brian Gregory

NOTABLE
• USF is 6-26 against Memphis in the all-time series that dates back to the 1972-73 season. 
• USF is in search of its first win over a ranked team since defeating No. 19 Louisville in 2012. 
• USF ranks 29th in the NCAA with 8.9 steals per game and has at least eight in 12 of 16 games this year.
• David Collins has made 348 career free throws and ranks third all-time in school history.
• USF ranks 31st in the NCAA in turnovers forced with 16.9 per game.
• Laquincy Rideau ranks seventh in the NCAA with 2.7 steals per game.   
• USF is 15-4 since the start of last season when Justin Brown scores in double figures. 
• USF ranks 45th in the NCAA in scoring defense by allowing just 62.4 points per game. 
• USF has held 14 of its 16 opponents under their season scoring average.  
• David Collins ranks 17th all-time at USF in scoring with 1,074 career points. 
• Ezacuras Dawson III ranks seventh in The American with a .415 three-point field goal percentage.

• Justin Brown has made the 10th-most career three-pointers in school history with 127.

About USF Men’s Basketball
The USF men’s basketball team is led by head coach Brian Gregory. On March 22, 2017, Gregory was introduced as the 10th head coach in program history. He previously led programs at Georgia Tech (2011-16) and Dayton (2003-11). Gregory spent nearly a decade as an assistant coach under Michigan State’s Hall of Fame head coach Tom Izzo and helped the Spartans win the 2000 NCAA National Championship. Gregory owns nearly 250 career head coaching wins and six postseason appearances, including the 2010 NIT Championship. In his second season at the helm of the Bulls, Gregory led the team to the best win turnaround in the NCAA, the most single-season wins in school history and the 2019 College Basketball Invitational championship. 

USF has retired three numbers in its 47-year history: Chucky Atkins (12), Charlie Bradley (30) and Radenko Dobras (31). The Bulls have earned three NCAA tournament bids, appeared in the NIT eight times and won the 2019 College Basketball Invitational.

To stay up-to-date on the latest USF men’s’ basketball news, follow the Bulls on social media (Twitter | Facebook | Instagram).

For tickets, contact the USF Ticket Office at 1-800-Go-Bulls or by going online to USFBullsTix.com.

– #GoBulls –

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