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Shorthanded Bulls can’t match No. 10 Houston

USF shows “some encouraging things” but loses for the fourth time in five games as freshman DJ Patrick scores a season-high 19.
USF's Trey Moss shoots over Houston center Josh Carlton during the first half Tuesday.
USF's Trey Moss shoots over Houston center Josh Carlton during the first half Tuesday. [ JUSTIN REX | AP ]
Published Jan. 19

HOUSTON — USF freshman forward DJ Patrick scored a season-high 19, but it wasn’t enough to stop 10th-ranked Houston from rolling 74-55 Tuesday night.

Patrick scored 16 of his points in the second half and accounted for five of the seven 3-pointers made by the Bulls (6-11, 1-4 AAC), who lost for the fourth time in five games.

USF’s Caleb Murphy added 12 points and had career highs in rebounds (8) and assists (8).

“We got in foul trouble early which got us out of sorts a bit and exposed us being shorthanded tonight,” said Bulls coach Brian Gregory. “But we had some good fight and intensity tonight, and really saw some guys step up. DJ came in and got some good looks, and helped us make a run there in the second half.”

The Bulls were down three players, including their second-leading scorer, Javon Greene.

Houston (16-2, 5-0) went into halftime with a 38-18 lead after shooting nearly 50 percent from 3-point range. USF was just 1-for-10 from beyond the arc in the half. That came after the Bulls scored the first four points of the game, but the Cougars used a 17-2 run over a six-minute span to open an 11-point lead. They upped the lead to as much as 23 in the first half.

Houston’s lead swelled to 25 in the second half before Patrick got in a groove and knocked down four more 3-pointers.

“On the road against a top-10 team, we never quit,” Gregory said. “There were some encouraging things to build on that we showed in the second half. We know we can play better, but some of the little things we’re starting to do right are going to bode well for us down the road.”

Kyler Edwards had 23 points and seven rebounds, and Fabian White added 16 points and five rebounds for the Cougars, who won their eighth straight.

Edwards, coming off scoring a career-high 29 with seven 3-pointers on Saturday, had six 3s against the Bulls and 17 first-half points.

“I feel like I’m in a good rhythm, but I also give credit to my teammates because they are always looking for me,” Edwards said. “They know where I’m at, at all times, so I just give credit to them and how they look for me.”

Josh Carlton finished with 15 points and five rebounds, and Taze Moore scored 13 for Houston.

“They were ready to double team tonight, so something I have been improving on is making better decisions on playing out of the double team,” said Carlton, who had 30 points and 11 rebounds in a win at USF on Jan. 5. “I was making sure I was finding the open teammate, make the smart plays, not trying to force it and just playing smart basketball.

“I think I’m getting better at that and just trying to improve every game as I’m seeing different defenses.”

Houston, which shot 45 percent, won its 35th straight home game — the third-longest active home winning streak in the nation behind Gonzaga and Liberty.

“For these guys, after everything they’ve been through, to be sitting here at 5-0 and 16-2 is pretty remarkable to me,” coach Kelvin Sampson said. “How long is it going to last? I don’t know. Everybody’s going to lose. … We just got to continue playing good and get ready for the next one.”

USF shot 35 percent, went 7-of-22 on 3-pointers and was forced into 17 turnovers, which Houston turned into 17 points.

“They did a great job of heating us up a little bit and that forced the turnovers,” Gregory said. “You got to make shots. When open shots show, you don’t have to make every one but nearly every one.”

BIG PICTURE

USF: It has not beaten a ranked team since Feb. 29, 2012, at Louisville. … It struggled shooting in the first half, making 28 percent of its shots, though it outrebounded Houston 39-36.

Houston: It has won 11 straight against USF. … Guard Jamal Shead, who sprained his right ankle early in the game Saturday and missed the rest of it, came off the bench Tuesday and played 20 minutes. He played with a sleeve on his right leg.

Sampson said Shead was on crutches and in a boot on Sunday and was limping Monday, but he was running in shootaround Tuesday. Sampson had said Monday morning that the team expected Shead to miss at least a week with the injury.

“I was shocked when I saw him running,” Sampson said.

THROWBACK TUESDAY

Houston donned the uniforms worn by the team from the late 1950s until the 1985-86 season.

UP NEXT

USF: Hosts Temple on Saturday.

Houston: Hosts East Carolina on Saturday.

• • •

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