Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

South Florida Bulls basketball team wins team-record fourth Big East game in upset of Cincinnati

USF’s Gus Gilchrist, left, and Chris Howard react after Dominique Jones scores late in his 30-point performance.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

USF’s Gus Gilchrist, left, and Chris Howard react after Dominique Jones scores late in his 30-point performance.

TAMPA — USF hadn't won in nearly a month, and freshman guard Justin Leemow hadn't hit a shot from the field in even longer, going 0-for-23 over an eight-game stretch.

But Tuesday was a good night for streaks to end. Leemow broke out of his slump with three 3-pointers in the second half, and Dominique Jones scored 30 to lead USF to a 70-59 upset of Cincinnati in the Sun Dome.

"It gives us a lot of confidence, a momentum builder, and I think we need that," said Jones, who had 18 in the second half. "We started at the bottom, and I think we're moving our way up. This is a step to making history. It's our fourth win, and Saturday, we're going for five."

The win is USF's fourth in Big East play, setting a new high in the Bulls' four seasons in the conference. USF (9-20, 4-13) won one game in 2005-06 and had just three in the past two seasons. Cincinnati (18-12, 8-9) came in as a team on the NCAA bubble, but the Bulls got to play spoiler against their old conference rivals, having won just five of the 25 previous meetings.

"Making progress is what it's about," coach Stan Heath said. "Getting better, trying to get to another level. You never want to take a step backward. I do think, considering what we've gone through this year, it shows a lot. … We've gotten more wins in, I think, a lot harder conference than it was last year."

With just one healthy senior on senior night — forward Aris Williams had two points — a young Bulls team won with stifling defense in the final nine minutes. Down 50-46 with 8:40 to play, USF held the Bearcats to one field goal in their next 11 attempts, taking control with a 17-2 run. The rally was sparked by Leemow's third 3-pointer — he matched a career high with nine points — and Jones followed with a 3 to put USF ahead 52-50.

This was a night for underclassmen. In addition to the sophomore Jones, freshman Gus Gilchrist had 13 points, junior Alex Rivas Sanchez had 10 and junior Chris Howard had 10 assists — after 11 in Saturday's loss to West Virginia — and zero turnovers in 40 minutes.

Leemow said the underclassmen were motivated to get a win to send out three seniors, including guard Jesus Verdejo, out with a foot injury, and center B.J. Ajayi, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last month.

"That meant a lot to me; Zeus seemed like he was on the court, telling me to keep my head up," Leemow said. "He was real excited after the game."

Heath had seen Cincinnati struggle against Syracuse's zone defense in an 87-63 loss Sunday and used more zone than he has all season. The Bearcats tried to shoot their way over it, attempting 32 3-pointers, but hit just seven, shooting 22 percent.

The Bulls have clinched the 14th seed in next week's Big East tournament and will play at 9 p.m. Tuesday. Having beaten a team with eight conference wins, the Bulls have confidence heading into Saturday's regular-season finale at Rutgers, which lost to Syracuse on Tuesday to drop to 1-16 in league play.

USF 70

Cincy 59

South Florida Bulls basketball team wins team-record fourth Big East game in upset of Cincinnati 03/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 11:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. St. Petersburg's Sebastien Bourdais vows to return for IndyCar finale

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Sebastien Bourdais was in one of the best race cars he'd ever had, so fast that most of his competitors thought he would win the pole for the Indianapolis 500.

    Sebastien Bourdais does physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana in Indianapolis. Bourdais broke his pelvis, hip and two ribs in an accident during qualifying for the Indianapolis 500 on May 20. He plans to return home to St. Petersburg soon to continue therapy. [Associated Press]
  2. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  3. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  4. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …

    Twitter