After suffering its first loss of the season 74-61 against Elon on Thursday, USF men’s basketball found itself on the verge of a losing streak as it trailed Rider 53-45 with just over 12 minutes left to play on Saturday.
However, led by the scoring of guard Geno Thorpe, the Bulls (2-1) took command in the game’s final minutes to hold on for the 70-65 win at the Sun Dome.
In a game that featured 14 lead changes, Thorpe scored six of his team-leading 18 points in the last four minutes to keep Rider (2-1) at bay. In his debut, freshman forward Malik Fitts scored 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting and also grabbed five rebounds.
“It was our defense and not fouling them, not letting them get points at the free throw line,” USF coach Orlando Antigua said. “We made the adjustment in the second half. I think in the first half we had 12 fouls and in the second half we only had five. I wish we would’ve been able to get a few more of those long rebounds down the stretch, but I thought our guys battled and tried to compete with a team that’s a veteran and a physical team.”
Following a first half in which the Bulls gave up 37 points and were losing by three, USF’s defense tightened up in the second half to limit Rider to 28 points and 1-of-13 shooting on 3-point attempts.
The Bulls will hit the road for the first time this season when they play at FAU on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Volleyball continues to fall in AAC standings
Despite a strong start to AAC play in which USF volleyball went 7-4 in its first 11 conference matches, the Bulls have dropped six of their last seven to fall to sixth in the AAC.
Sunday afternoon at The Corral, USF continued to slip down the standings as it was swept by Temple in three sets. It was USF’s final home match of the season, with only two road matches (Houston, Tulane) remaining in the regular season.
Men’s Soccer eliminated from NCAA Tournament
The last time USF won an NCAA Tournament game, the Bulls moved past FGCU 5-3 on penalty kicks at Corbett Soccer Stadium on Nov. 15, 2012.
Almost exactly four years later to the date — Nov. 17, 2016 — the Eagles downed USF 3-0 on penalty kicks to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In what was a back-and-forth match that finished with a 2-2 tie in regulation, USF missed the goal completely on two of its three missed penalty kicks and FGCU made three of four to seal the match.