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. Florida Gators want a White Out in home opener

    Blogs

    At least the Florida Gators are trying to do something to spice up this season's home opener.

  2. Stop expecting Gerald McCoy to be Warren Sapp

    Bucs

    Here's the problem when it comes to Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

    Photo from National Pediatric Cancer Foundation The crowd cheered wildly for cancer survivor Joshua Fisher, left, and Tampa Bay Buc Gerald McCoy at the 14th annual Fashion Funds the Cure on May 6 to benefit the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation at Port Tampa Bay Terminal 2.
  3. Orioles Buck Showalter's Trop takedown includes bullpen mounds, bathroom options, bladder problems

    Blogs

    Orioles manager Buck Showalter has never been a fan of the Trop, and after Monday's 5-0 win he — with some prodding from O's TV man Gary Thorne — took a few more shots during their MASN interview, specifically about the location of the bullpen mounds, and the lack of bathroom facilities.

    Orioles manager Buck Showalter has never been a fan of Tropicana Field.
  4. What a perfect USF football season would and wouldn't mean

    College

    TAMPA — USF held its first fall practice Monday. A mere technicality. It's mind-bending how many people think that USF, sure to be ranked in the preseason Top 25, is going to throw down a 12-0 regular season with the schedule placed before it. This from a team that has never won a conference championship in its …

    The hiring of Charlie Strong, shown here, cente,r with USF president Judy Genshaft and athletic director Mark Harlan during his introductory press conference non Dec. 15, 2016, is one of several reasons for the Bulls' high football expectations this season.  [ JOEY KNIGHT | Times]
  5. HomeTeam 100: Players 31-40

    Footballpreps

    Wesley Chapel High School running back Dexter Leverett (6) runs the ball past Hudson High School offensive linebacker Cody Sutphin (8) during the second half at Wesley Chapel High School in Wesley Chapel, Fla., on Oct. 8, 2016. Wesley Chapel won the game 39 to 34