Bulls get huge home win vs. UConn, 75-68
With a crowd of 8,317 watching in the Sun Dome, USF closed out the regular season with a crucial bubble win, holding off Connecticut 75-68 to finish 9-9 in Big East play and keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
The Bulls got 20 points from Dominique Jones and 17 from Augustus Gilchrist, but it was senior Chris Howard who clinched the win with five free throws in the final 64 seconds.
The Bulls (19-11, 9-9) led 56-42 with 10 minutes to play, but the UConn pulled within four points with a 10-1 run. The Huskies cut the lead to two with 36 seconds left on a dunk by Alex Oriakhi, but Howard hit three free throws to extend the lead, and the Huskies couldn't answer on their end. USF went 17-for-21 on free throws for an 81 percent clip at the line.
UConn (17-14, 7-11) took the unusual step of benching its top two scorers, guard Jerome Dyson and forward Stanley Robinson, for the final 16 minutes of the game. Coach Jim Calhoun also got a technical foul with 10:34 left in the game, allowing USF to extend its lead from 10 to 14 points.
Calhoun said he thinks USF is on the NCAA bubble, while his own team needs to win a few games in New York to be able to say that. USF will play last-seeded DePaul at noon in Tuesday's opening round, with the winner advancing to face eighth-seeded Georgetown in Wednesday's second round.