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USF Bulls ride strong defensive effort to rout UConn Huskies

South Florida rebounds from its conference-opening loss at SMU to win its sixth straight at home.
USF forward Michael Durr is defended by Connecticut guard Alterique Gilbert during their game Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, at the Yuengling Center.
USF forward Michael Durr is defended by Connecticut guard Alterique Gilbert during their game Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, at the Yuengling Center. [ MARK LOMOGLIO/ICON SPORTSWIRE | AP ]
Published Jan. 5, 2020
Updated Jan. 5, 2020

TAMPA — UConn and USF were both coming off disappointing conference opening losses.

The Bulls rebounded quickly while the Huskies struggled again.

Laquincy Rideau had 17 points and six assists, David Collins scored 15, and USF beat UConn 75-60 Saturday.

The Bulls (8-7, 1-1 AAC) also got 12 points and nine rebounds from Michael Durr. USF lost 82-64 to SMU on Wednesday.

“I’m really pleased with the response,” USF coach Brian Gregory said after his team’s sixth straight homecourt victory. “It’s a great win for us. It showed why and how we can win.”

James Bouknight had 11 points for UConn (9-5, 0-2), which was coming off a 67-51 loss at Cincinnati on Wednesday night.

“When you don’t have a guy in the program that’s ever had a winning season and things start going sideways, it’s hard to have that strong leadership presence as a player, “ UConn coach Dan Hurley said. “‘Hey, get behind me, follow me, I know how this is suppose to go’ and then that runs through a team. I think that’s a large part of what you’ve seen here the last two days.”

“I don’t think it’s any of the players’ fault, I don’t think it’s any of our fault,” Hurley added. “We’ve just got a long way to go as a program here.”

UConn senior guard Christian Vital had nine points. He’s averaging 13.8.

The Huskies got within 12 with eight minutes remaining, but Rideau’s layup completed a 7-0 run that made it 70-51.

“We picked up defense,” said Rideau, who also had eight rebounds.

UConn finished 6-for-16 from 3-point range, but missed all six tries in the second half.

Justin Brown put USF ahead 53-38 on a 3-pointer with 15 1/2 minutes to play.

The Bulls went 21-of-29 from the free-throw line, and the Huskies made 10 of 16.

Rashun Williams extended USF’s lead to 61-42 midway through the second half. That surge came during a four-minute scoreless stretch by UConn.

Rideau had 13 points as USF took a 39-32 halftime advantage. He had a 3-point play and added a layup during a 12-2 run that put the Bulls up 39-29.

Alterique Gilbert cut the UConn deficit to seven on a long-range jumper with 9 seconds left in the first half.

“This game is a lot about confidence,” Hurley said. “It’s about putting the last game behind you. We’ve got to spend a lot of time soul searching and a lot time trying to repair the psyche of the number of the guys that have been struggling.”

BIG PICTURE

UConn: It was a rare loss in the all-time series between the teams. The Huskies have won 22 of the 26 meetings.

USF: Rideau has had success against UConn. In three previous games, the senior guard averaged 17.7 points and six rebounds.

UP NEXT

UConn: Has its conference home opener against Tulane on Wednesday night.

USF: Plays on Tuesday night at East Carolina.