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. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    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.

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


    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.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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 …

  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi had to battle without his best stuff again, which is becoming a more common occurrence, leading to long at-bats — including 13 pitches to Kennys Vargas in the fifth — and running up his pitch count to 118 without finishing the sixth.