TAMPA, Fla. — Tulio Da Silva posted a double-double with a career-high 23 points and 12 rebounds and South Florida picked up a 78-76 win over Charlotte on Thursday night.
Da Silva, who was scoring in double figures for the seventh time this year, put the Bulls (7-6) ahead 72-68 with 3:33 left and shot 10 of 15 from the floor.
He also had a career-high three blocks. The team had four blocks overall on the night.
Payton Banks added 13 points, six rebounds and four assists and Justin Brown made four 3-pointers in his 12 point performance off the bench for the home side which shot 49 percent (31-63) in the win.
“Our guys came out and they fought for 40 minutes. I thought Tulio was exceptional tonight, great energy,” USF coach Brian Gregory said.
“It’s amazing how many more shots you make when you’re playing as hard as he played… I thought Jiggetts played well, I thought Terrence played really well.
“Banks played well, Isaiah played well and our two freshmen played really well for us. They were probably the difference in the game.”
Meanwhile, Terrence Samuel finished with just seven points, but he knocked down a jumper that gave the Bulls a 76-70 lead with 1:31 left and then fed Da Silva for a key basket with a little over a minute remaining to seal the victory.
Andrien White led Charlotte with 16 points, hitting five 3-pointers, and had seven rebounds.
Jon Davis added 15 points and nine assists, Austin Ajukwa scored 15 points and Jaylan McGill finished with 12 points for the 49ers (4-7), who were losing for the fifth time in six games.
Charlotte shot 43 percent from the floor and made 12 3-pointers in the defeat.
South Florida trailed 41-39 at halftime, but Brown connected on a 3-point shot with 10:26 left to give USF the lead for good.
South Florida returns to action on Dec. 28 at home against Houston.
Charlotte will travel to Old Dominion on Dec. 30 for a game will stream live on the ESPN3 schedule.