NOTEBOOK: Men's basketball visits UCF on Wednesday

USF will try to extend its five-game conference winning streak. ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

USF men’s basketball looks to keep its winning streak going when it travels to Orlando to face War on I-4 rival UCF on Wednesday at CFE Arena.

The Bulls, coming off a dramatic 72-68 overtime victory against ECU on Sunday, could post the program’s first six-game conference winning streak since 1991-92 if they defeat the Knights for the first time since March 4, 2015. Should the present win streak continue, it would be the first time in program history (48 seasons) USF posted two separate six-game winning streaks in the same season.

UCF (17-5, 7-3) is led by senior guard B.J. Taylor, who is seventh in the AAC in scoring, averaging 16.7 points per game. Senior center Tacko Fall, standing at 7-foot-6-inches, leads the team in rebounds per game (6.9).

Coach Brian Gregory said he thinks this game, along with the Feb. 27 rematch at USF’s Yuengling Center, can help kickstart the War on I-4 on the hardwood.

“It’s an important game for us. I know it’s an important game for them,” Gregory said in a statement. “You look at football, where it’s been the last few years, and it’s been tremendous. That game is great to be at, great excitement, and it’s kind of created a national brand. It’s great for both universities and it’s great for our conference. I think this basketball rivalry is going to get there.”

The Bulls and Knights tip off at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPNEWS.

Johnson makes AAF debut

Former USF running back D’Ernest Johnson made his professional football debut in the Alliance of American Football’s inaugural weekend Saturday.

Johnson, playing for the Orlando Apollos, ran five times for 35 yards and caught a 33-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of Orlando’s 40-6 victory over the Atlanta Legends at Spectrum Stadium.

While at USF, Johnson set a number of program records, including all-purpose yards (4,186) and career receptions as a running back (73).

More on Johnson’s journey to the AAF can be read in an Oracle feature on the southwest Florida native.

Ice Bulls lose in regional finals

The USF Ice Bulls were defeated 4-3 by Florida Gulf Coast University in the Southern Collegiate Hockey Conference championship game Sunday at Amalie Arena.

FGCU’s game-winning goal was scored on a controversial play that involved the net being dislodged.

A replay on Amalie Arena’s scoreboard showed the puck did not cross the goal line before the net came off its moorings, according to Ice Bulls writer Ian MacLeod. However, unlike in the NHL, video review is not allowed in the SCHC and the call was not changed.

USF’s path to nationals now involves the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s regional tournament rather than simply qualifying as SCHC champion.