(Dallas, TX) David Collins sank a go-ahead three with six seconds remaining as USF stunned SMU, 67-66, Thursday night at Moody Coliseum.
Collins’ clutch shot helped USF (16-6, 6-4 in AAC) extend its winning streak to four games, the Bulls’ longest string of victories in league play since the magical 2011-12 season in the Big East. USF also improved to 10 games above .500 for the first time since March 1992.
Collins set up his game-winning shot with another three that tied the game at 64-64 with 1:12 remaining. The sophomore guard finished his heroic outing with a game-high 23 points and made three of USF’s season-high 11 threes.
Laquincy Rideau added 14 points, nine assists and six rebounds while making program history with his defense. The redshirt junior guard became USF’s new single-season steals leader with 69.
USF was without the services of star forward Alexis Yetna, who sat out with an injury. Freshman Michael Durr stepped up with eight points and grabbed a loose ball to help set up Collins’ game-winning shot.
Thursday’s back-and-forth first half featured 10 lead changes and USF seized the momentum just before the break with a 9-0 run that spotted the Bulls a 39-35 advantage.
Rideau sank one of his career high-tying four first-half threes during the late surge and led the Bulls with 13 points at the break on top of totaling six assists. Rideau also set the USF single-season steals record in the opening period.
Collins scored five of his 10 first-half points in the final two minutes and made four of his first seven shots. USF went 52 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes and knocked down seven threes.
Xavier Castaneda’s steal-and-score put the Bulls up by eight with 5:08 remaining in the second half before SMU (12-10, 4-6 in AAC) went on an 11-0 run and took a 64-61 lead with 1:27 to play.
Collins’s second three of the game tied things up with 1:12 to play and his third bucket from long range, off a nice pass from Rideau, gave the Bulls the game-sealing bucket with six seconds to go.
“We set up a play to get a three, if it was available,” said Bulls Head Coach Brian Gregory. “We weren’t going to force one. If they overplayed it, then we were going to try to attack the basket. That’s what we did the play before and David did a pretty good job.”
USF returns to the Yuengling Center to host East Carolina on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. (TV: ESPN3).
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