Monday, June 18, 2018
Sports

USF Bulls top Temple Owls to advance in NCAA Tournament

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Has a second verse ever been so different from the first?

USF missed 22 shots in a row from the field and suffered through 11 percent shooting in the first half, playing just enough defense to trail Temple just 19-15 at halftime. Then the 12th-seeded Bulls exploded, hitting 9 of their first 11 shots to open the second half.

Fifth seed Temple made a late run to cut a 14-point Bulls lead to three points, but the Bulls got a clutch 3-pointer from Victor Rudd and nine straight free throws to end it, holding on for a wild 58-44 win Friday night at Bridgestone Arena.

"I can't even explain it," freshman Anthony Collins said. "Basketball is a game of runs, so sooner or later they were going to make one. Rudd made a big shot, and after that, we just grabbed the momentum and just kept pushing to end the game strong."

And the Bulls held Temple to 32 points under its average and 20 under its previous season low. USF (22-13) matched the school record for wins and came up with the second NCAA win in school history — and in three days — sending them into Sunday's third round against 13th seed Ohio, which upset No. 4 Michigan earlier Friday.

"We're excited to see how far we can go. If we keep playing defense the way we've been doing, I don't think there's a team we should be afraid of," forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick said. "We're taking it one game at a time, but we're excited."

The Bulls took the lead back early in the second half on a 3-pointer by backup guard Shaun Noriega with 16:35 left, then got a reverse dunk from Hugh Robertson. The lead was still at five points when forward Fitzpatrick hit back-to-back 3s, and Rudd added one of his own for a 39-25, capping a 30-6 run for the Bulls.

"It feels amazing — from where we've come from to where we are now," said Noriega, who ended the streak of 22 misses with a 3-pointer late in the first half.

Collins had five assists in that pivotal run, sparking the team, and finished with 17 points. He and Rudd combined for USF's final 13 points.

How did the Bulls pull such a turnaround? Even when their shooting was record-breaking bad, the Bulls played their typical stifling defense, and limited turnovers — just four in the first half and two in the first 12 minutes of the second half. And when Temple cut the Bulls' lead to just three points, Rudd answered with a clutch 3 — banked in, no less — to give his team more of a cushion. He added another 3-pointer with 2:27 left and finished with 17 points, his fourth straight game in double figures.

USF had shot 11 percent from the field for the entire first half — 3-for-27 including 22 consecutive misses — but held Temple to just 13 field-goal attempts and forced seven turnovers to keep themselves in the game, trailing just 19-15.

That was in stark contrast to Wednesday's game, which saw USF storm to a 36-13 halftime lead, hitting 15 of their first 21 shots in one of their best offensive showings in months. The Bulls led by as many as 32 points in the second half of that game, giving them confidence in their shooting ability entering a game against a Temple team that averaged 76 points per game.

Comments
A sports story that we all can love

A sports story that we all can love

When we think of sports — hard-nosed, competitive sports — what words immediately come to mind? Tenacity. Grit. Guts. Perseverance. Courage. Intensity. Determination. You get the idea. Sports are usually cutthroat, give no quarter, sho...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

NEW YORK — The Adeiny Hechavarria situation is going to be interesting for the Rays. The veteran seemed destined to be traded or even released as he completed his recovery from a hamstring strain rather than play again for the Rays after last ...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Sports on TV/radio for Monday, June 18

TODAYBaseballYankees at Nationals7 p.m.MLBRays at Astros8 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMMarlins at Giants10 p.m.FSFDiamondbacks at Angels10 p.m.ESPNCollege baseball, World SeriesOregon State vs. Washington2 p.m.ESPNNorth Carolina vs. Mississippi State7 p.m.ESPN...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

NEW YORK — The Adeiny Hechavarria situation is going to be interesting for the Rays.The veteran seemed destined to be traded or even released as he completed his recovery from a hamstring strain rather than play again for the Rays after last week’s p...
Updated: 9 hours ago

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

The Rays remain committed to using an "opener" three times in five game stretches, but that seems to tax the bullpen too much. Wilmer Font showed Sunday that he should be able to handle starting, at least until Chris Archer returns.e_SClBIt was only ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Rays leave New York with a smile after beating Yankees 3-1

Rays leave New York with a smile after beating Yankees 3-1

NEW YORK — You had seen this game before.So had the radio guys, the coaches, the manager, the players and, certainly, the bosses.The Rays grab an early lead over the Yankees. They look like they are headed to a rare win in the Bronx. And then when th...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Sports could use a little more empathy (and a hug or two)

Sports could use a little more empathy (and a hug or two)

When we think of sports — hard-nosed, competitive sports — what words immediately come to mind?Tenacity. Grit. Guts. Perseverance. Courage. Intensity. Determination.You get the idea.Sports are usually cutthroat, give no quarter, show no mercy.But ano...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Rays leave New York with a smile after beating Yankees 3-1

Rays leave New York with a smile after beating Yankees 3-1

NEW YORK – You had seen this game before.So had the radio guys, the coaches, the manager, the players and, certainly, the bosses.The Rays grab an early lead over the Yankees. They look like they are headed to a rare win in the Bronx. And t...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

Rays journal: Adeiny Hechavarria returns and plays short, but now what?

NEW YORK — The Adeiny Hechavarria situation is going to be interesting for the Rays.The veteran seemed destined to be traded or even released as he completed his recovery from a hamstring strain rather than play again for the Rays after last we...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Sunday’s Rays-Yankees game

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

The Rays remain committed to using an "opener" three times in five game stretches, but that seems to tax the bullpen too much. Wilmer Font showed Sunday that he should be able to handle starting, at least until Chris Archer returns.It was only one wi...
Updated: 11 hours ago