(Tampa, FL) Laquincy Rideau had 25 points, David Collins overcame foul trouble to add 17 key second-half points, and USF battled back from a double-digit deficit to beat UConn 76-68 Wednesday night in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
USF (11-2, 1-0) also got 12 points from Alexis Yetna in its seventh consecutive victory. It’s the Bulls’ first seven-game winning streak since 2007-08, and their most wins in a season since 2013-14 (12).
Jalen Adams led UConn (9-5, 0-1) with 25 points and Christian Vital added 16.
USF trailed by 13 with 2:20 left in the first half, but eventually took the lead at 41-40 when Collins (Youngstown, Ohio) made a layup with 12 1/2 minutes remaining. He scored his first point of the night moments earlier when he made 1-of-2 from the line.
Collins’ trey made it 57-48 with six minutes left.
Adams had a layup and connected on two free throws, cutting the deficit to 66-62 with 1:25 to go.
Collins, who entered as the Bulls leading scorer at 13.9 points, helped secure the win with four free throws in the final minute.
Adams had 11 points in the first half as UConn took a 33-25 halftime lead.
Collins went to the bench 2:10 into the game after picking up his second foul. The Bulls were outscored 19-11 without the guard and trailed 23-13 when he returned with just under nine minutes left in the first half.
Collins played six minutes in the opening half and sat for several minutes early on in the second after getting his third foul.
“I told our guys, ‘We won this game on Monday and Tuesday with our practices, our preparation and our commitment to really getting down and dirty on the defensive end and on the glass, said Bulls Head Coach Brian Gregory. “We knew there wasn’t going to be a lot of pass options offensively. We were going to have to attack the basket. I thought we did a good job of it in the first half but we weren’t strong enough around the basket. We did a much better job in the second half.”
The Bulls continue league play Saturday at 6 p.m. when the Bulls travel to Tulsa for a matchup on ESPNU.
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