Bulls look to build on first conference win

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More than halfway through the season, Orlando Antigua's Bulls had just three wins.

For the fourth consecutive year, they'll finish with a losing record, even if they win out.

The light at the end of the tunnel may have dimmed, but it never disappeared.

Then Sunday happened.

The nine-game skid was over.

"We were close in every game," said Antigua. "We were one, two possessions away and one of the differences looking back and reflecting on the Houston game and all the previous games was we got to the free throw line and we made free throws. So we avoided the four, five, six, seven, eight sometimes nine minutes of not being able to put the ball in the basket."

Their 26 free throws made against Houston more than doubled their season average.

Jahmal McMurray poured in a game-high 30 points to help lead USF to their first conference win of the season.

"We just know here in the future, we're going to start getting wins," said McMurray, the conference rookie of the week. "We've been preaching that. We've been working toward that. I mean, we're very happy with the win, but we just have to keep moving forward and keep fighting against other teams so we can continue the season."

The freshman guard could be a big part of USF's future. He's avergaing 35 minutes per game, and almost 15 points a game.

There's no doubt he can shoot the ball, but it's his character that has impressed Antigua.

"His growth, his leadership, how he's continued to improve, his decision making on the court, those are the things from the start of the season to now that you see that continues to get excited," said Antigua. "He still has a ton more room to grow. Defensively, he's got to get better. We're pushing him in all those areas so that he can be a more rounded, complete player."

As a team, the Bulls are working to become a more sound unit as well.

Wins like the one over Houston, away from the Sun Dome, are important in the Bulls' rebuilding process.

"Definitely," said McMurray. "There's no environment like playing on the road. You get a win on the road that can kind of boost guys' confidence."

"Now we've got to move on," said Antigua. "Now we've got to build off that. Now we've got to continue to work."

They'll first work toward putting together a win streak, something the Bulls haven't done since November 2014.

USF plays at Tulane Wednesday night.