In the final home performance of his collegiate career, Laquincy Rideau bombed.
Off-balance. From long range. To the raucous glee of a Yuengling Center crowd of 3,587.
Rideau’s 3-pointer from the right wing with six-tenths of a second to play lifted the Bulls (14-17, 7-11 American Athletic Conference) to an improbable 61-60 senior night victory Saturday against SMU (19-11, 9-9).
“All I can say is, I called game, honestly,” he told reporters afterward.
Rideau hastily advanced a missed Mustangs put-back attempt ― after the second of two missed Tyson Jolly free throws ― down the right side before hoisting his winner.
“I was gonna advance it up to (David Collins)," Rideau said, "but something told me like, ‘I think this is the moment here.’”
Rideau’s shot capped a surreal 8-0 Bulls run in the last 24 seconds that featured three Mustangs turnovers and the two missed free throws. With 13 seconds to play, junior Justin Brown converted a traditional three-point play after getting fouled on a layup, cutting USF’s deficit to 60-58.
Rideau finished with 12 points, six assists and five rebounds. Forward Antun Maricevic, the other senior honored during pregame festivities, had a season-high 14. Collins led the Bulls with 15.
“I said in the locker room, it hasn’t always been easy ‘cause we have faced some disappointing times, and that creates some frustration,” said Bulls coach Brian Gregory, whose club will play the 8-vs.-9 game Thursday at 1 p.m. at the AAC tournament in Fort Worth, Texas.
“Families fight but families stick together. We had to stick together to the very end today. I challenged the underclassmen to make this day a memorable day for those two seniors, something for them to remember for the rest of their lives. I think they will.”