USF Bulls Defeat UConn 76-68 in AAC Conference Opener for 7th Straight Win

(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.





Remembering the great Bob Einstein who passed away today at 76





USF Opens American Athletic Conference Schedule Against UConn Wed. Night in Tampa

(Tampa, FL) The USF men’s basketball team closes a three-game homestand and begins American Athletic Conference play Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. when the Bulls welcome UConn to the Yuengling Center for a matchup on CBS Sports Network.

The first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive a free white t-shirt and all fans are encouraged to wear white.

USF (10-2) ran its winning streak to six on Saturday following a 60-54 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson behind 16 points and 16 rebounds from redshirt freshman Alexis Yetna. Yetna leads The American and ranks seventh in the NCAA with 10.9 rebounds per game and has featured seven games with double digit rebounds. Yetna also paces the conference with seven double-doubles and leads in offensive rebounds with 3.8 per game.

Sophomore Justin Brown added 12 points, six rebounds and make three 3-pointers against the Knights to continue a hot stretch of shooting. Brown, who has made a team-best 22 three-pointers, is shooting 71.4 percent (10-for-14) from down town over his last three games. Overall, Brown averages 9.3 points per game and shoots 43.1 percent from beyond the arc.

David Collins scored 10 points to go along with a career-high eight rebounds on Saturday and continues to serve as the offensive catalyst for the USF offense with 13.9 points per game. Collins is also second in The American and 14th in the NCAA in steals with 2.6 per game.

Redshirt junior Laquincy Rideau stands second on the team with 12.9 points per game and leads the conference in both assists (5.7 apg) and steals (2.8 spg). Additionally, Rideau ranks eighth in the NCAA in steals and 36th in assists.

UConn (9-4) has won three of its last five games but suffered an 81-58 defeat to Villanova in its most recent game. The Huskies and Wildcats were tied 30-30 at halftime, but Villanova exploded for 51 points in the second half en route to the victory. Despite only scoring 58 points, UConn still ranks second in The American with 81.3 points per game and in field goal percentage by shooting 47.6 percent.

AAC Preseason Player of the Year Jalen Adams leads UConn and ranks sixth in the league with 16.6 points per game. Fellow guard Christian Vital pulls down a team-high 5.2 rebounds per game and scores in double figures with 12.4 points per game.





Iowa Defeats Mississippi State 27-22 in the Outback Bowl

(Tampa, FL) Safety Jake Gervase made an interception in the end zone to help preserve a late lead, and ball-hawking Iowa Hawkeyes beat No. 18 Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl 27-22 Tuesday.

Gervase also batted down an errant fourth-down pass to end the Bulldogs’ final drive at the Iowa 32 with 25 seconds left. Two earlier Mississippi State threats in the fourth quarter led to only three points.

The Hawkeyes totaled just 199 yards, with 75 coming on a touchdown pass from Nathan Stanley to Nick Easley, but they converted three takeaways into 17 points.

Stanley threw for 214 yards and three scores. The Hawkeyes won despite netting minus 15 yards rushing, and their three running backs totaled 4 yards in 15 carries.

Iowa (9-4) earned its biggest postseason victory since an Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech to cap the 2009 season. Mississippi State (8-5) lost to a team outside the top 15 for the first time.

Trailing 24-19, the Bulldogs had a first down at the Iowa 1 early in the fourth quarter, but three quarterback draws lost 2 yards and they settled for a field goal.

They were again on the verge of taking the lead with nine minutes left, but receiver Stephen Guidry bobbled a pass in the end zone, and Gervase snatched it away. The Hawkeyes then drove 50 yards for a field goal to go up 27-22.

The Hawkeyes scored two touchdowns in 97 seconds for a 17-6 lead. The Bulldogs rallied with two touchdowns in 18 seconds to go up 19-17, with quarterback Nick Fitzgerald giving them the advantage on a nifty 33-yard touchdown run — his 100th career score rushing or passing.

But on their next possession, Fitzgerald’s tipped pass was intercepted by defensive lineman Chauncey Golston. Stanley then scrambled to convert a fourth and 1, and on the next play he hit Easley to put Iowa ahead to stay, 24-19.

The Hawkeyes won because they kept the game close early despite a slow start. They trailed only 6-0 after one quarter even though they had minus 8 yards and a 12-yard punt.

Mississippi State tried some trickery in the first quarter by throwing down the middle to quarterback Keytaon Thompson, but he dropped a potential touchdown pass and the Bulldogs settled for a field goal.

The Bulldogs had 90 yards in penalties while Iowa had none. Targeting and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Mississippi State jump-started the Hawkeyes’ offense and led to a field goal for their first score. A 51-yard completion for the Bulldogs was negated by a holding penalty.

The Bulldogs, who allowed only 12 touchdowns in the regular season, gave up two in quick succession in the second quarter.

First Easley slipped several yards behind the secondary to catch Stanley’s long throw in stride. The touchdown pass was the 50th of Stanley’s career — and his longest. It was the longest play allowed by the Bulldogs this season.

Two snaps later, A.J. Epenesa’s strip sack of Fitzgerald gave the Hawkeyes the ball at the 13, and they scored on Ihmir Smith-Marsette’s touchdown catch for a 17-6 lead. The fumble lost was Fitzgerald’s first in 511 carries.

Iowa will likely finish in the Top 25 for only the second time in the past nine seasons. Coach Kirk Ferentz concluded his 20th season at Iowa and improved to 152-101, including 8-8 in bowl games.

The down-to-the-wire finish was a rarity for the Bulldogs, who had only one other game decided by fewer than 14 points.

Stanley will be a third-year starter returning to lead the 2019 Hawkeyes, who also will have their top three rushers back. They open the season Aug. 31 at home against Miami (Ohio).

With fifth-year senior Fitzgerald departing, the Bulldogs will have a new starting quarterback — possibly Thompson — when they open the 2019 season Aug. 31 in New Orleans against Louisiana.