Behind a season-best 13 3-pointers, USF snapped a five-game American Athletic Conference skid and kept its NIT hopes fluttering with a 75-70 victory Wednesday at Tulane.
The Bulls finished one 3-pointer shy of the program’s 28-year-old single-game record. Sophomore Justin Brown led the long-range assault, going 5-for-9 from behind the arc en route to a career-best 20 points.
USF (19-11, 8-9) played without junior point guard Laquincy Rideau, who wore a protective boot on his injured right foot Wednesday. The lingering ailment isn’t expected to jeopardize his status for next week’s AAC tournament.
With freshman Xavier Castaneda operating the point, the Bulls hit six of their first eight 3-pointers, and had eight by halftime, when they led by 11. A field-goal ― and free-throw ― drought down the stretch enabled Tulane (4-25, 0-17) to rally late, but the Bulls held on.
Sophomore David Collins’ two free throws with 19 seconds to play snapped a streak of three consecutive misses at the stripe and gave USF a 74-68 lead. The Bulls went without a field goal the final 3:24.
With the victory, USF is tied for seventh place in the AAC with Tulsa, but the Golden Hurricane have the tie-breaker edge for the No. 7 seed in the conference tournament by virtue of a 78-75 victory against USF in early January. The Bulls can secure only the fifth 20-win season in program history Sunday when they host SMU in their home finale.