Myles Mack added 15 points and Wally Judge had 10 to help Rutgers (10-14, 4-7 American Athletic Conference) win for the first time in eight road games. Judge blocked two shots and had eight rebounds for the Scarlet Knights, who outrebounded the Bulls 37-30.
Martino Brock tied a season high with 17 points to lead South Florida (12-12, 3-8). Victor Rudd added 15 points, Chris Perry 11 and John Egbunu 10 for the Bulls, who made 17 of 20 free throws for 85 percent.
“He needs to carry us, especially on the road,” Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan said of Jack. “Your go-to guys have got to really do it for you on the road. Myles didn’t have it going, he struggled, but Kadeem sort of picked up on that and was very aggressive.”
Jack scored seven of his 15 first-half points during a 13-0 run to help the Scarlet Knights build a 15-2 advantage. By the intermission, Brock had 13 and the Bulls trailed only 36-35.
“I thought the key was the way we started the game,” South Florida coach Stan Heath said. “We started the game off very sluggish, not the kind of energy and fight you want to have, and they took advantage of us.”
South Florida took the lead with the first six points of the second half, but Rutgers answered with the next 12. The Scarlet Knights later put up 11 in a row to pull away, helped by 2-of-11 shooting by the Bulls from beyond the arc.
“There were periods of time we played well,” Heath said. “There were just too many lapses where we didn’t score and get some stops.”
The teams came in tied with idle Houston for the sixth and final position eligible for a first-round bye in the AAC postseason tournament.
“It’s our carrot, obviously,” Jordan said. “We have to have a goal, and it’s sixth place. Hopefully, we can achieve that goal, but it’s a journey. Possession by possession is important for us. We can’t look too far ahead.”