Sunday, June 24, 2018
Sports

USF Bulls rally to beat Providence Friars for second time, 55-48

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — According to the play-by-play sheet, USF beat Providence 55-48 Saturday by converting 8 of 10 free throws in the final 59 seconds of their Big East game.

Realistically, the Bulls (15-10, 8-4) prevailed because seldom-used junior Shaun Noriega came off the bench and buried consecutive 3-pointers that produced a 47-46 lead with 1:46 to play.

LaDontae Henton's basket gave the Friars (13-13, 2-11) a 48-47 lead, but point guard Anthony Collins commenced USF's parade to the line as the Bulls made six straight free throws. The free-throw shooting — 12-of-15 for the game — might have been rendered moot were it not for Noriega.

"It was one of those gut feelings," coach Stan Heath said of his decision to insert Noriega with just more than two minutes remaining. "I asked him, 'What do you think? Can you do it?'

"He said, 'I've got one.' And the kid gave me two. Those were big momentum plays for us, and they changed the game. … He hadn't played much recently, and I didn't want to put him in a bad spot."

What made Noriega's long-range shooting more impressive was the fact he had not played in four of the previous six games.

"The last couple of weeks have been rough," he said. "But I just tried to stay positive and get better so I can play and contribute. I think (Saturday's) a big stepping-stone for our team and also for myself."

The Bulls moved four games over .500 for the first time since joining the Big East. But as Heath noted, the win wasn't easy, one reason being Providence scored 13 off 15 turnovers.

"We were very fortunate to steal a win," Heath said. "We just tried to hang in there, and we took a lot of punches."

Victor Rudd was the only Bull to reach double figures (11). Vincent Council (16) led the Friars.

The Bulls, who led 24-21 at halftime, also did a better job with their man-to-man defense against Providence than has been the case in the past. They held the Friars to 30 percent shooting and limited freshman forward Henton to seven points after he scored a career-high 33 on Jan. 29 in USF's 81-78 win.

"We knew we had to take away their transition," Heath said. "We did a much better job in the second half. I think it took some of their guys who can really score and didn't allow them to get in a rhythm that they've gotten into before.

"I don't know how those guys feel, but I'm exhausted," he added, with a laugh. "The guys did a fantastic job, and there are a lot of heroes in that locker room."

Comments
Rays team up to beat Yankees again 4-0

Rays team up to beat Yankees again 4-0

ST. PETERSBURG — With all that's been said, tweeted, ranted and written on these pages and elsewhere about the Rays' odd, unorthodox, weird and some days downright wacky pitching plan, this might be the craziest thing yet:It's working.Like, rea...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Greg Auman answers your questions about NFL’s investigation into Jameis Winston

Greg Auman answers your questions about NFL’s investigation into Jameis Winston

There are many unanswered questions and discrepancies about the story of Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and the March 2016 Uber ride in Arizona that has led to his upcoming three-game suspension for violating the NFL's conduct policy.The Bucs won't ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Will this be Jameis Winston’s last season in a Bucs uniform?

Will this be Jameis Winston’s last season in a Bucs uniform?

A t his introductory news conference after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Bucs in 2015, Jameis Winston said to judge him on his actions moving forward."Actions speak so much louder than words, or what they may have read or what they may have hear...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Rays Tales: Why ‘trades’ and ‘prospects’ are always in same conversation

Besides the continual evolution of their intriguing pitching plan, the primary topics of conversation for the Rays over the next several weeks will be trades and prospects. And not mutually exclusively.Some sooner than others, the Rays are going to c...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Former Mitchell High player Nathan Smith taken in NHL draft by Jets

Former Mitchell High player Nathan Smith taken in NHL draft by Jets

It's rare to see an NHL draft pick with Tampa Bay ties, but the Jets used a third-round pick Saturday on center Nathan Smith, 19, who played for Mitchell High School in Trinity and most recently for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL.Smith was ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Report: Lightning to talk to John Tavares during free-agent courting period

Report: Lightning to talk to John Tavares during free-agent courting period

Despite limited salary-cap room, the Lightning is among at least five teams expected to talk with Islanders All-Star center John Tavares, who can be a free agent July 1, when the courting period begins Sunday, ESPN reported.Tavares also is expected t...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: New confidence carries over for Willy Adames

Rays journal: New confidence carries over for Willy Adames

ST. PETERSBURG — The key to SS Willy Adames rapping two of the biggest hits in the Rays' 4-0 win Saturday actually took place the night before.An RBI single that snapped an 0-for-12 and a second hit two winnings later in Friday's game restored ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Another small, quick forward headlines Lightning’s draft picks

Another small, quick forward headlines Lightning’s draft picks

Even without a first-round pick, the Lightning wrapped up its draft with seven picks Saturday, starting with Gabriel Fortier, an undersized 18-year-old forward from Quebec in the second round."They were guys that we really wanted," Lightning director...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Yankees game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Yankees game

INF Daniel Robertson has only played two games after a short DL stint, but it seems like he has already made a half dozen great plays. Willy Adames and Jake Bauers get the attention, but Robertson has the skills to steal the show any night.It is obvi...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Tampa Bay Tech wins Battle of the Bay 7-on-7 tournament

Tampa Bay Tech wins Battle of the Bay 7-on-7 tournament

TAMPA — Tampa Bay Tech lost some significant players from an offense that averaged more than 40 points per game last season.The biggest departures were in the passing game. Mike Penix, the Tampa Bay Times' all-Tampa Bay offensive player of the ...
Updated: 9 hours ago