Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF beats Rutgers for first Big East road win

Associated Press
Rutgers’ Anthony Farmer tries to block Dominique Jones’ path in the second half.

Associated Press Rutgers’ Anthony Farmer tries to block Dominique Jones’ path in the second half.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Through three seasons and two coaching staffs, the losing streak endured, following like a rain cloud every time USF hit the road in their new conference.

Twenty-three Big East road games. Twenty-three losses.

That changed, finally and mercifully, Saturday night at the Louis Brown Athletic Center as USF started strong then held on for a 54-52 win at Rutgers, the only team with a worse Big East record.

"It's over with," said Kentrell Gransberry, a fifth-year senior who transferred from LSU in 2005. "We took it off our back."

Gransberry howled in delight at the final horn after the Bulls (12-17, 3-13 Big East) won with a flawless defensive stand on the last play.

After a timeout with 16 seconds left, the Scarlet Knights tried a screen-and-roll at the top of the key. USF jumped out at them hard, nearly getting a turnover then forcing freshman guard Mike Coburn to attempt an awkward and futile 3-pointer as time expired.

"I couldn't have drew it up any better," USF coach Stan Heath said. "It was really probably our best defensive stretch. We played good defense the whole game, but that particular segment of the game was exactly what we need. It couldn't have been executed any better."

Fifteenth of 16 teams in the Big East, the Bulls won't qualify for the conference tournament. They had lost 13 of their past 14. But for one night, they were able to get the type of close win that had eluded them.

"I think it can do a lot for us, because we've been so close this whole year," said Heath, who took over for Robert McCullum this season.

The Bulls had an early advantage, with Jesus Verderjo scoring 12 of their first 20, including 3-pointers on three straight possessions. The lead was 27-11 with 6:58 left before halftime.

Rutgers (10-20, 2-15) chipped away and made a push in the final 10 minutes that finally produced a 50-49 lead when Anthony Farmer (19 points) pulled up for a floater from the right side with 1:47 left.

USF's Dominique Jones hit a free throw to tie the score, and after an exchange of baskets, Jones eluded Rutgers' attempts to force him to his left. He drove right, pulling up for a short bank shot off the glass and a 54-52 lead with 37 seconds left.

One more defensive effort and the Bulls had their win, long-awaited if a bit ugly.

"I'll take it," Gransberry said.

USF 54

Rutgers 52

USF beats Rutgers for first Big East road win 03/01/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:24am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump tells Warriors star Stephen Curry that White House visit is off


    SOMERSET, N.J. — Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump agree on one thing: The Golden State star is not going to the White House anytime soon.

    Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry poses for photos during NBA basketball team media day Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. [Associated Press]
  2. For starters: Rays at Orioles, facing another old friend in Jeremy Hellickson


    UPDATE, 3:29: Here is the Rays lineup, with Duda at 1B and Morrison the DH:

  3. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  4. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national anthem …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  5. Matt Peca making case for Lightning spot


    Center Matt Peca said he didn't read too much into the fact he was the only Lightning player to appear in each of the first three exhibition games.

    But Peca, 24, loved it.

    Matt Peca won nine of 10 faceoffs Friday, a skill the Lightning badly needs.