MBB: South Florida Faces Temple for Second Straight Game

USF (8-8, 4-6) vs. Temple (4-10, 3-10)
Wednesday, Feb. 24
 7 p.m.
Tampa, Fla. | Yuengling Center
ESPNU (John Schriffen, Brooke Weisbrod)
Bulls Unlimited (Jim Lighthall, Joey Johnston)

TAMPA, FLA., FEB. 23, 2021 – The USF men’s basketball team returns to Tampa for its final home game during the month of February when the Bulls host Temple Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Yuengling Center.

USF and Temple met three days ago when the two teams battled on Sunday in Philadelphia due to schedule changes resulting from COVID-19 protocols within other programs throughout the league. Junior guard Xavier Castaneda (Chicago, Ill.) scored a career-high 18 points and added three rebounds and three assists to lead USF to an 83-76 victory.

Senior David Collins (Youngstown, Ohio) added 14 points, four assists and two steals to help the Bulls win for the second straight time at Liacouras Center. Collins enters the week leading USF with 12.6 points per game and needs just seven points to move into seventh place on the USF all-time scoring list.

USF and Temple will meet on the hardwood for the 16th time in school history when the two teams battle on Wednesday. The Owls own an 11-4 lead in the all-time series that dates back to the 2011-12 season. USF won the first two games in the series before Temple won the next 11, but the Bulls snapped the losing streak last season with a 64-58 road victory behind 13 points and nine rebounds from Justin Brown. Michael Durr added 12 points and seven rebounds to help USF win in Philadelphia for the first time since 2014. In the most recent matchup on Sunday, USF turned in an 83-76 win over the Owls behind a career-high 18 points from Xavier Castaneda. The Bulls will be in search of their first ever win over Temple at home, as the Owls own a 6-0 career record against USF in Tampa.

Due to cancellations and postponements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the USF men’s basketball team will face Temple in back-to-back games this week, having played in Philadelphia on Sunday before moving the series to Tampa for a matchup on Wednesday. It will be the first time that USF has played the same team in back-to-back games during the regular season since facing Charlotte in consecutive games in January during the 1982-83 season. The Bulls did play a three straight games against DePaul in the 2019 CBI finals, but those games were played in the postseason. 

USF junior forward Alexis Yetna has enjoyed a great deal of success in his career against Temple. In fact, Yetna enters play Wednesday against the Owls averaging 14.7 points and 9.7 rebounds in three career games against Temple. In his first ever game against Temple, Yetna poured in 24 points and 10 rebounds in 2019 during a season that saw him win AAC Freshman of the Year. On Sunday, Yetna scored 12 points and had seven rebounds to help USF to an 83-76 victory.

USF senior guard Justin Brown played in his 117th career game for the Bulls on Sunday in a victory at Temple. Brown enters play Wednesday against the Owls ranked eighth all-time at USF in games played and will move into a tie for sixth place should he appear in the game. Should Brown play in every game remaining in the regular season and at least one conference tournament game, he will finish his career with 122 career games played and will rank third all-time at USF. Fellow senior David Collins has played in 110 career games and needs four more to move into the top 10.

USF junior guard Xavier Castaneda turned in his best game of the season Sunday at Temple with a career-high 18 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists. Castaneda has come on strong of late and enters play Wednesday against Temple averaging 11.3 points and 4.0 assists per game while shooting 44.4 percent from three-point range over the last three games. In addition, Castaneda has made all 10 of his free throw attempts during that stretch.

USF junior Rashun Williams has been on fire from three-point range and is shooting 45.5 percent from beyond the arc over the last four games. Williams has made five three-pointers during that stretch and if 5-for-11 from beyond the arc. Williams made only five treys in the previous 11 games and shot 23.8 percent from three-point range.

USF featured its second straight game with seven turnovers or less on Sunday in a win at Temple. The Bulls finished with just seven turnovers and forced the Owls into 17 miscues. The Bulls enters play Wednesday against Temple with a 14-28 edge in turnovers in its last two games.

USF shot 69.0 percent (20-for-29) from the free throw line Sunday at Temple to mark its fourth straight game of at least 68.0 percent from the charity stripe. The Bulls have struggled from the free throw line most of the season, but enter play Wednesday against Temple shooting 71.9 percent from the free throw line over the last four games.

The USF men’s basketball team went 32 days in between games due to Covid-19 protocols within the program. The Bulls played their 12th game of the year Jan. 9 at East Carolina and turned in a 69-63 victory over the Pirates. It wouldn’t be until Feb. 10 that USF would resume games with a matchup against No. 7 Houston at the Yuengling Center. During the layoff, the Bulls had seven consecutive games postponed and only had two full practices that included all 13 players.

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

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 over 300 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.

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

– #GoBulls –

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