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USF men pursuing history tonight in Dallas

The Bulls can go 10 games above .500 for the first time in 27 years
OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
USF Bulls head coach Brian Gregory during the second half at the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, January 22, 2019.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times USF Bulls head coach Brian Gregory during the second half at the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, January 22, 2019.
Published Feb. 7, 2019

At this stage of USF's season, which already has segued from impressive to improbable, a milestone seems to accompany every triumph.

Another one awaits the Bulls (15-6, 5-4 AAC) tonight in Dallas.

A victory against SMU would put the program 10 games above .500 in a season for the first time since March 1992. That club, which finished 19-10, reached the NCAA Tournament.

“I said it after the (Memphis) game the other day, the reason we’re at 15-6 is because guys have 15-6 behavior and 15-6 habits,” second-year coach Brian Gregory said. “Now, what’s the next challenge? To make those even better.”

USF already has won more American Athletic Conference games than it has in the league’s six-year history. A triumph tonight would give the Bulls their first four-game win streak in conference play since February 2012.

It won’t be easy. The Bulls could be without 6-foot-8 redshirt freshman Alexis Yetna (13.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg), who sustained a leg injury after being fouled (officials ruled it flagrant) on a drive to the basket in Saturday’s win against Memphis.

“He’s day to day right now,” Gregory said.

“Probably a game-time decision. ... Just a leg injury, nothing with the knee or anything like that, which we’re very thankful for that because it was a hard foul in a very vulnerable position when he was up there.”

SMU (12-9, 4-5) has lost two in a row, but was within a possession of Cincinnati on the road Saturday before the Bearcats pulled away in the final 33 seconds for a 73-68 triumph. Former Bulls point guard Jahmal McMurray ranks third in the AAC in scoring (18.5 ppg) and is shooting nearly 40 percent from 3-point range.

“Obviously a dynamic scorer; we saw it firsthand here when he played here,” Gregory said. “He can score off the dribble, can score off the catch, can really get it going.”