(Tulsa, OK) David Collins’ clutch bucket from long range with 4.4 seconds left tied things up before Tulsa beat the buzzer with a three of its own to hand the rallying Bulls a 78-75 loss on Saturday night.
USF (11-3, 1-1 in AAC) trailed by nine with 1:12 remaining and almost had a chance at extending its winning streak to eight for the first time since the 1982-83 season.
Curran Scott’s three-pointer helped Tulsa (11-4, 1-1) escape with a victory in a game that saw the Bulls outrebound the Golden Hurricane and dominate in points in the paint by a 42-18 margin. Making only nine field goals in the second half, Tulsa did its damage at the free throw line, going 30 for 37 overall and 19-for-26 after the break.
Laquincy Rideau scored a team-high 19 points, dished out seven assists and totaled five steals in USF’s first loss since Nov. 24.
Collins scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half while redshirt freshman Alexis Yetna produced his conference-leading seventh double-double of the season with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Seeking its first-ever win over Tulsa, USF headed into the halftime trailing, 36-31, and kept things close by scoring 18 points in the paint through the first 20 minutes.
USF used an 8-0 run to take the lead when T.J. Lang’s three-pointer spotted the Bulls a 12-10 advantage just over five minutes into the action. Tulsa jumped ahead by 10 with 2:38 to play in the opening half before USF cut its deficit in half by making its final four field goals down the stretch.
USF trailed by 11 with 6:20 remaining and mounted its furious comeback in the final 1:12 by sinking four of its final five shots from the field. That was on top of Collins and Rideau going a combined 4-for-4 at the free throw line.
“It was obviously a great game”, said Bulls Head Coach Brian Gregory. “We did some things out of character a little bit for us, but the one thing that was in character was we just kept fighting. There were so things not going so well and some difficulty in terms of the foul situation in the first half – a lot of free throws. We just kind of hung in there and kept fighting, and did some really good things at the end, really good execution.”
USF returns to the Yuengling Center to host Tulane on Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m.
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