Bulls hold on, get 68-67 upset of FSU
DAYTONA BEACH – Two days earlier, USF was off to its worst start in 20 years. Now, the Bulls have excitement and momentum after a huge upset of Florida State at the Ocean Center.
The Bulls (2-3) got two free throws from Chris Howard with 55 seconds left, then saw an awkward 3-pointer from FSU’s Toney Douglas miss at the buzzer, giving USF a 68-67 win, the first significant victory of the Stan Heath era.
“It’s a big win for us, a big confidence boost,” Heath said. “We grew up quite a bit today. We were able to get a lead … played with some poise, played together as a team. We’re getting better, and that’s what I’m really pleased about.”
FSU (3-2) had a chance to win late, when Howard shot an airball with nine seconds left. Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton had wanted his team to get to midcourt and call a time out, but after hesitation in the backcourt, Toney Douglas had to rush and instead took a last-second 3-pointer, which missed wide.
“It was a miscommunication with us and the coaches,” said Douglas, who scored 15 points and twice pulled FSU within a single point in the final three minutes. “I should have called a time out, but I just saw the time in my mind and thought I had to get the shot off. It didn’t go in and we lost from there.”
The Bulls (2-3) went 11-for-18 on 3-pointers after hitting 10 in a 31-point win against Florida Atlantic on Saturday. Five players hit at least two 3-pointers, which left Hamilton impressed.
“I’m not real sure I’ve coached against a team that had this many guys knock down 3s,” said Hamilton, whose team went 9-for-20 on 3s and were led by Ralph Mims’ 16 points. “I don’t think that’s typical for most teams.”
The inside was working for USF as well, as Gransberry had 14 points in the first half, including a 6-for-6 showing on free throws. FSU simply couldn’t get to the line, finishing 4-for-5.
“We seemed to not be able to have an answer for their big fellow in the first part of the game,” Hamilton said. “We knew he would be a handful. A couple of times, we dropped back in his lap, trying to keep the ball from going inside, and they pulled up and knocked a couple down."
Gransberry missed two free throws with 1:18 to play, giving FSU a chance to take the lead, but the Bulls got a steal from freshman Dominique Jones, then Howard’s two free throws for the winning margin.
USF led 39-30 at the half, but FSU made its run, getting three 3-pointers from Mims in a 12-3 run that put them ahead 48-47 with 12:39 to play. The Bulls answered with a 3-pointer from freshman Orane Chin and did not trail again.
"Coming in, we knew if we could get this win, it'd definitely be big," Howard said. "We started the season off kind of slow with the losses, but we knew if we could get a win against an ACC program like Florida State ... it'd be big for us."
The Bulls were 0-3 after losing to Rhode Island on Friday, but got their first win Saturday, beating Florida Atlantic 100-69. Florida State was 3-0 before losing in overtime Saturday to Cleveland State.
The two schools hadn’t met since Jan. 1, 2002, when FSU won 104-84 in Tampa. The Seminoles came in with a 20-11 edge in the series, though USF had won two of the last three.
USF has a light week, returning home to face East Carolina on Saturday in the Sun Dome. Florida State plays host to Georgia State on Tuesday.