Kyler Edwards scored a game-high 23 points and Fabian White Jr. added 16 points as the 10th-ranked Houston Cougars topped the visiting South Florida Bulls 74-55 on Tuesday.
Josh Carlton paired 15 points with five rebounds for the Cougars (16-2, 5-0 American), who extended their winning streak to eight games despite a backcourt undermined by injuries. Houston did get guard Jamal Shead back just two days after he suffered a right ankle sprain in a road win against Tulsa.
Shead did not score in his 20 minutes but grabbed three rebounds and added five assists. Taze Moore chipped in 13 points for the Cougars, who outscored USF 30-10 on points in the paint.
DJ Patrick led the Bulls (6-11, 1-4) with 19 points while Caleb Murphy added 12 points, eight boards and eight assists.
Edwards and White combined for 29 first-half points to help the Cougars build a 20-point halftime lead. Houston labored a bit in the second half to keep the Bulls at bay, with USF mounting a 14-3 run after the Cougars had extended to a 25-point cushion.
Patrick drilled a pair of 3-pointers while Murphy added five points during the Bulls' rally back into contention. Moore hit a 3-pointer to rebuild the lead to 59-42.
USF missed 9 of 10 3-pointers in the first half but was 6 for 12 from deep in the second.
Edwards nailed two 3-pointers during a 10-0 run that enabled Houston to seize control early in the first half. He scored 13 of the Cougars' opening 17 points by sinking three 3-pointers and 4 of 5 free throws.
The Bulls, meanwhile, endured two extended scoreless stretches -- the first lasting just over four minutes before Murphy scored at the 11:06 mark.
USF endured a near five-minute scoreless drought later in the half. Russel Tchewa's free throw with 4:12 remaining pulled the Bulls to within 26-11. Just 69 seconds later, the Cougars extended to a 33-13 advantage on a transition dunk by Moore, and Houston led 38-18 at the break.
It was the fourth time this season that a Houston opponent had scored fewer than 20 by halftime. The Bulls finished with more turnovers (11) than field goals (eight) prior to the break.
--Field Level Media