Hofheinz Pavilion Houston

South Florida Bulls vs. Houston Cougars Pick & Prediction JAN 18TH 2022

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Logo Houston Cougars

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No. 11 Houston finally had a moment to breathe in the days leading into their conference road tilt at Tulsa on Saturday, which was a welcome break after three games in seven days without guards Marcus Sasser and Tramon Mark.

Then, less than five minutes following the tipoff against the Golden Hurricane, the Cougars lost guard Jamal Shead to a right ankle sprain. While Houston (15-2, 4-0 American) held on for a 66-64 victory that extended its winning streak to seven games, the Cougars did so with their three available scholarship guards logging heavy minutes.

"Our kids were on fumes in the second half," Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. "We're just running out of bodies. Our thing is the Xs and Os, we're just trying to tape it together right now. We're just figuring it out. We've got to find a way to win with three guards."

With Shead and his team-leading 90 assists sidelined, Sampson distributed his backcourt minutes among Kyler Edwards (40 minutes), Taze Moore (37 minutes) and freshman Ramon Walker Jr. (31 minutes). He shifted forward Fabian White Jr. to the wing for stretches and will likely have to utilize a similar rotation when the Cougars host South Florida (6-10, 1-3) on Tuesday.

south florida bulls

Sampson typically starts a three-guard lineup. With only three guards available, he might have to alter that approach in order to alleviate the minutes workload. The Cougars do have four experienced big men at their disposal in Josh Carlton, Reggie Chaney, J'Wan Roberts and White, allowing Sampson some room to manipulate rotations. But the backcourt attrition is a concern.

The Cougars will likely turn to walk-on sophomore guard Ryan Elvin to help fill the void until Shead, who will be unavailable for an undetermined number of games, returns to the fold.

"It is what it is," Sampson said. "This is the hand we've been dealt. I don't think I've seen a year with injuries over an extended period of time like this. But we're 4-0 in the conference and the best thing about that is we have three road wins. I'm proud of our kids, proud of our program."

The Bulls completed a surprising, wire-to-wire 75-51 victory over UCF on Saturday. Javon Greene scored a season-high 19 points and was one of three Bulls to score in double figures alongside Caleb Murphy (13 points) and Jamir Chaplin (10).

Greene hit five of the Bulls' season-best eight 3-pointers and added nine rebounds with four steals. Murphy and Chaplin chipped in career highs in rebounds with seven and eight, respectively, to round out the balanced effort.

USF had dropped four consecutive games before pouncing on the Knights, including an 83-66 home loss to Houston on Jan. 5. But in recording its largest margin of victory over UCF since 2015, the Bulls moved to 6-3 when outrebounding an opponent this season, a key statistic with the glass-dominant Cougars next up on the schedule.

"We needed everybody," USF coach Brian Gregory said. "We had a lot of guys step up with us playing shorthanded, and guys answered the call."

--Field Level Media

South Florida Bulls
Houston Cougars

South Florida Bulls vs. Houston Cougars Recap FEB 28TH 2021

DeJon Jarreau had 12 points and six assists to lead No. 25 Houston past cold-shooting South Florida 68-49 in an American Athletic Conference game Sunday in Houston.

Fabian White Jr. had 11 points and Chris Harris Jr. contributed nine points and eight rebounds for the Cougars (16-4, 6-1 AAC), who won their fourth straight game.

South Florida, which shot 37.0 percent overall and just 18.8 percent (3 of 16) from 3-point range, did not have a double-digit scorer. Michael Durr and Antun Maricevic each finished with eight points.

The Bulls (8-12, 1-6) have lost five straight games and eight of their last 10 games. South Florida finished with only eight assists and 15 turnovers.

Marcus Sasser led Houston's defensive effort with three steals. Harris added two blocked shots for the Cougars.

Showing its depth, Houston's top two leading scorers Caleb Mills and Quentin Grimes combined for only 17 points. Mills finished with 11 points.

Houston, which has won 10 of its last 12 games, never trailed after taking a 17-16 lead on Grimes' 3-pointer.

After building its lead to 31-23 at halftime, Houston gained separation in the second half when it scored seven unanswered points to take a 44-28 lead.

Houston is the first ranked team South Florida has played this season. The Bulls dropped to 0-4 on the road.

The Cougars have now beaten the Bulls seven consecutive times. In the last six wins against the Bulls, Houston has won by an average of 17 points. South Florida's last win in the series came on Jan. 23, 2016, a 71-62 victory.

--Field Level Media

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