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 falls to Seton Hall in Big East tournament opener


If USF's disappointing season could be summed up neatly in a single frustrating game, it would look a lot like the 46-42 overtime loss Tuesday night to Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden, a difficult end to the Bulls' eight years in Big East basketball.

There was the Bulls' stifling, suffocating defense, nearly enough to win by itself yet in the end trumped by offensive struggles of historical proportions.

Up 37-29 with three minutes left, on course for a Big East tournament record for fewest points allowed, the Bulls (12-19) allowed Seton Hall (15-17) to end regulation on an 8-0 run, with Fuquan Edwin driving for three layups in the final 1:17, with three shots missed by the Bulls in the final four seconds.

"It's a tough way to finish our season. We gave the game away," coach Stan Heath said. "We had an opportunity to close it out in regulation. I think the wrong guys had the ball and some wrong decisions were being made. … We have to learn from this tough year. We've experienced both sides, with phenomenal success last year, and this year, we obviously didn't have the season we wanted to have."

USF shot 24.2 percent for the game, bad enough to reset the all-time low in 34 years of Big East tournament play, one shot worse than Seton Hall's 25.4 percent in a 2006 game against Rutgers.

"It was like there was a lid on the rim. We just couldn't seem to throw it in there," Heath said.

Overtime was more of the same. The Bulls shot 18 percent in the extra period, missing three shots in the final minute as the Pirates, losers of 11 of 12 coming in, stayed alive for another day. Heath said the Bulls relied too much on 3-pointers, attempting 26, including seven of their 11 shots in overtime.

"We took way too many 3-point shots, for the game but especially in overtime," Heath said. "We're not a great 3-point shooting team, so I don't know why we went to that as our way to finish."

USF had won its Big East tournament opener in each of the previous three years, but its final exit from the league's biggest event was an early one. The game mirrored Saturday's loss at Cincinnati, where the Bulls led by eight with 3:30 to play and lost in overtime.

USF freshman Zach LeDay had a career game, finishing with team highs of 13 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks and three steals.

"Coach has been playing me through a lot of hostile environments," LeDay said. "I got to play a whole bunch of minutes and gained a whole bunch of experience. I just went out there like it was another game. I knew what my coach wanted me to do."

The Bulls' shooting woes were team-wide. Anthony Collins, who had nine assists, went 2-for-12, Martino Brock 2-for-10, Toarlyn Fitzpatrick 3-for-13, Victor Rudd 3-for-11. The Bulls lost despite taking 22 more shots than the Pirates, with 27 offensive rebounds leading to just 13 second-chance points.

Seton Hall advances to face fifth-seeded Syracuse today at 2 p.m. Rudd, who contemplated leaving for the NBA last season, said he expects to be back but left the door open for an early exit.

"I just want to get better. I'm focused on my team," Rudd said. "I have young guys coming in and I have to help the young guys already here to get better."

Asked if he feels confident he'll be back for his senior year, he said: "I do right now."

USF falls to Seton Hall in Big East tournament opener 03/12/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 12:11am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge


    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]
  2. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz celebrates his Trop-record 482-foot home run in the ninth inning.
  3. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It didn't take CF Kevin Kiermaier long to make his presence felt during his return Friday to the Rays lineup. Kiermaier pretended to have Mariners DH Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive lined up even as the ball went past him to his right and to the wall.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  4. Rays vs. Mariners, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    6:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    This is a 2017 photo of Jake Odorizzi of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)