Temple looks to end skid in rematch vs. South Florida
The South Florida Bulls host the Temple Owls on Wednesday night in a matchup of struggling teams. Temple has lost six in a row, and South Florida three of its past four.
The two American Athletic Conference squads met for the first time this season on Sunday in Philadelphia, with the Bulls winning 83-76 to break a three-game losing streak.
USF’s Xavier Castaneda came off the bench and matched his career high with 18 points to lead the Bulls (8-8, 4-6 AAC).
With their schedule interrupted by a monthlong bout of COVID-19 issues, the Bulls won for the first time since a 69-63 decision at East Carolina on Jan. 9.
Following that win, USF was sidelined by six postponements. The team then played three games — losing to then-No. 8 Houston, Tulane and Central Florida — before its game at Southern Methodist on Saturday was postponed.
The win over Temple was just what USF coach Brian Gregory and his team needed, and beating the Owls (4-10, 3-10) on Wednesday would slide the Bulls back above .500 again.
“Really proud of the way the guys responded to adversity in the second half and with the way our bench played,” Gregory said. “This was a total team effort against a really good team that always plays well at home”
Castaneda proved to be a strong asset to the Bulls, who had seven players score at least seven points, and Temple coach Aaron McKie might take a different approach on defending the guard on Wednesday.
“We’ve got to keep him out of the paint,” McKie said. “He changes the pace for them. Today was one of those days they wanted to go inside. That can help take away from mistakes.”
The Owls lost their season-worst sixth straight game and haven’t won since a 76-67 home victory over Tulsa on Jan. 26.
But Khalif Battle did his part for Temple on Sunday, recording a career-high 32 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
“Coach keeps telling me to be aggressive,” Battle said. “So that’s what I’m going to do.”
Taking care of the ball continued to be Temple’s biggest problem, as the team committed 17 turnovers to USF’s seven.
–Field Level Media