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 Bulls take No. 4 Connecticut Huskies to overtime before falling 66-61

HARTFORD, Conn. — In the end, maybe it was as simple as this: The fourth-ranked UConn men's basketball team finds a way to win these kinds of games, and for now, USF finds a way to lose them.

The Bulls squandered a nine-point second-half lead and fell to the Huskies 66-61 in overtime Friday night at the XL Center. Anthony Crater's 3-pointer with 24.8 seconds left in regulation tied the score at 58, then USF was unable to figure out UConn's zone and scored just one 3-pointer in the extra period.

UConn's Kemba Walker, the nation's leading scorer, scored a game-high 24, including three key jumpers over the final 4½ minutes of regulation and overtime.

The Bulls fell to 6-9 overall and 0-2 in the Big East. More telling, USF is now 3-9 in games decided by 10 points or fewer this season.

"When we had Dominique Jones, it was the opposite," Bulls coach Stan Heath said of the guard who left early for the NBA. "I've got to find a way to get a Kemba Walker on my team that, down the stretch, will show a little leadership, get the ball to the right guys. … It's not easy."

The Bulls led 46-37 after a Jarrid Famous free throw with 10:49 to play. But UConn (11-1, 1-1 Big East) slowly crawled back and finally took the lead on freshman Shabazz Napier's wild bank shot with 3:30 to play.

Walker hit a wing jumper with 1:04 left to put UConn ahead 58-55, but Crater countered with his long 3. Napier's off-balance lane jumper was off the mark in the waning seconds, and it was on to overtime.

The Huskies scored the first eight points in overtime before Crater hit a 3-pointer with a few seconds remaining.

Augustus Gilchrist led USF with 21 points on a variety of 15-footers and inside moves.

"We never really had an answer for Gilchrist," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. "He's one of the best big guys in the country. He absolutely was terrific."

With Gilchrist having his way inside, and with two of its big men in foul trouble, UConn reverted to a 2-3 zone with about five minutes left in regulation and in overtime. The Bulls seemed puzzled by the Huskies' zone.

"I don't know why we go freeze-frame and stand around like that," Heath said. "We don't do it in practice. I don't know, maybe they thought (Hasheem) Thabeet (UConn's former 7-foot-3 center) was in there or something."

Crater finished with 14 points off the bench, and Hugh Robertson added 11. Gilchrist hauled in a game-high eight rebounds.

Despite the loss, the Bulls' fourth in a row, Heath found some positives.

"I'm proud of our team," he said. "We've been on a little bit of a skid, but at the same time, we continued to battle, continue to fight.

"To come into a place like this, on New Year's Eve, and to battle toe-to-toe with a top-ranked team, I think our guys should feel like we're not too far out of the woods from being a team that can win games."

USF Bulls take No. 4 Connecticut Huskies to overtime before falling 66-61 12/31/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 31, 2010 10:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    fit test: Top draft pick Cal Foote puts on his Lightning jersey.
  4. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Matt Duffy is expected to resume his baseball activities once the stitches heal.
  5. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.