Broken finger could sideline Sims from bowl
USF let a 13-point lead slip away in the final six minutes of regulation, then missed two costly free throws late in overtime as UAB escaped with a 78-77 victory Wednesday night.
USF led 77-76 and had senior Aris Williams at the line for two free throws with 20 seconds left, but he missed both free throws. UAB's Paul Delaney, who had a 3-point play with 14 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, hit two free throws with 14 seconds left, and USF's Jesus Verdejo missed a shot at the buzzer.
The Bulls (3-2) got a career-best 26 points from Verdejo, including USF's five points in overtime. Verdejo had five of USF's 11 3-pointers, which matched their most in two seasons under Stan Heath. It's the second close loss in two road games for the Bulls, who lost by two points at Virginia in their road opener.
USF led 67-54 with six minutes to play, then saw the Blazers score the next 10 points to get within three points with 1:26 to play. Guard Dominique Jones went to the line with 18 seconds left with a chance to put USF up four, but he missed one of two free throws. Up three, he committed his fifth foul as Paul Delaney hit a layup, and Delaney's free throw sent the game to overtime, though UAB has a shot to win in regulation after a USF turnover.
Jones had 15 before fouling out, and freshman guard Justin Leemow, who had totaled three points in his first four games with the Bulls, came up huge with three 3-pointers off the bench in three attempts. The Bulls stay on the road, playing at Central Florida on Saturday night.