Make us your home page
Instagram

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 loses to UCF in final seconds

TAMPA — For those convinced USF had forgotten how to coach, shoot and compete in the wake of its most humiliating defeat of the season, the Bulls spent Saturday offering a fairly resounding rebuttal.

Related News/Archive

They just couldn't close their case.

Senior Isaiah Sykes' left-handed runner near the left block with 1.8 seconds to play lifted UCF to a 75-74 triumph, atoning for a one-point overtime loss to USF in Orlando 10 days earlier.

Martino Brock's ensuing desperation shot just inside halfcourt bounced off the back of the rim, leaving most in the Sun Dome crowd of 5,294 deflated, which still beats despondent. Three nights earlier, USF (12-14, 3-10 American Athletic Conference) had been embarrassed, 83-40, at Connecticut on national TV.

"I'm sure (fans) were worried about, 'Are they still gonna battle and still gonna fight?' Hopefully that answered the questions for our fans," said coach Stan Heath, whose team scrapped through 10 lead changes and enjoyed one of its best shooting efforts (49.1 percent).

"I know morale-wise, those guys are gonna hurt from this loss, and they should; I am, too. But it's just a part of the season. You've got to bounce back, and you've got to keep fighting."

Any fears about a UConn hangover were answered in less than four minutes, when the worst 3-point shooting team in Division I got two treys from guard Corey Allen.

USF finished with six 3s (its most in a league game this season), a 31-30 rebounding edge and a career game from Brock (21 points), whose array of baseline shots and putbacks resulted in his most prolific day in a Bulls jersey.

But in the end, USF had few answers for Sykes, a 6-foot-6 left-hander from Detroit.

On the final Knights possession, Sykes (27 points) got a screen from 6-foot-10, 310-pound freshman Justin McBride near the top of the key and drove to the left side of the lane, where the Bulls' intended trap never materialized.

"We rolled (McBride) out into a screen, overloaded the other side and just let those two guys play together," said coach Donnie Jones, whose Knights (10-13, 2-10) snapped a nine-game skid.

Sykes' layup bounced three times off the right side of the rim before falling in.

"That's all we were talking about was trapping that," Heath said. "The angle I think (center) John (Egbunu) had just wasn't the right angle to trap. Still, it wasn't horrible. (Sykes) made a hard shot."

Preceding Sykes' winner was a foiled Bulls possession, in which Shemiye McLendon's off-balance jumper in the paint fell short. Victor Rudd (21 points), the first option, had his attempted pick-and-roll neutralized by guard Calvin Newell's ball denial.

"I thought Shemiye got deep, he got the ball where we wanted it," Heath said. "But the ball kind of slipped out of his hands at the very last second, and I think that's what changed his shot at the end."

USF loses to UCF in final seconds 02/15/14 [Last modified: Saturday, February 15, 2014 9:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New Bucs player murals go up at Raymond James Stadium

    Blogs

    Each summer, it's a sign that training camp is soon to arrive at One Buc Place: the changing of the huge player murals on each corner of Raymond James Stadium.

    Bucs receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans share a mural on the southeast corner of Raymond James Stadium.
  2. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)

    Golf

    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Jordan Spieth, right, comes from one back of Matt Kuchar, left, after 13, going birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-par to win by 3.
  3. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  4. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  5. Rays journal: Rays gamble on Sergio Romo's track record, heart

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Some of RHP Sergio Romo's numbers this season with the Dodgers were the worst of his career, yet the Rays feel he can be a good fit for their bullpen.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Sergio Romo #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)