TAMPA — Down four with 12 seconds left and St. John's shooting a second free throw, USF had probably already lost, but Jose Fernandez saw the sequence that followed as emblematic of the mistakes that cost his team Wednesday in the Sun Dome.
St. John's pulled its team back on defense, leaving four Bulls to watch as Nadirah McKenith missed the free throw … and got the rebound, leading to two more free throws and the final margin in a 65-59 loss that hurts the Bulls' chances at finding their way onto the NCAA Tournament bubble.
"We talked to our kids about playing every possession, not taking plays off," Fernandez said. "We had a lot of mental breakdowns. It was indicative how the game ended, with four guys on the free-throw line and we didn't block out. … Our kids fought to the end, but a couple stretches there, in games like these, a 4-0 run or 6-2 run is huge."
Leading scorer Andrea Smith went 1-for-14 from the field and had five turnovers and six points for the Bulls (16-7, 5-5 Big East). Freshman forward Alisia Jenkins had 17 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to hold off the Red Storm (12-10, 6-4).
ECKERD 68, TAMPA 46: Annie Armstrong had 17 points as the visiting Tritons (10-10, 6-6 Sunshine State) capped a season sweep of the Spartans (14-7, 4-7).
SAINT LEO 66, FLA. SOUTHERN 59: Kinnara Lewis had 19 points to lead five players in double figures for the visiting Lions (11-11, 6-6 SSC).
NO. 25 OKLA. ST. 64, W. VA. 54: Brittney Martin had a career-high 21 points for the Cowgirls (17-6, 6-6 Big 12), who have won three conference road games for the first time since 2009-10.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.