With a trio of graduate transfers leading the way, USF won its second game of the 2017-18 season, and coach Brian Gregory won his 250th career game as a head coach Wednesday night.
Defeating the Stetson Hatters 75-72 at the Edmunds Center in DeLand, Florida, USF scored 51 of its points from graduate transfers Stephan Jiggetts (18 pts), Terrence Samuel (15 pts) and Payton Banks (18 pts).
“We started high, the guys responded well on a one-day turnaround after a disappointing performance on Monday,” Gregory said. “But you have to put that stuff in the rearview mirror."
Also contributing to the win was redshirt sophomore forward Tulio Da Silva, who finished the game with 11 points and eight rebounds. Despite only winning by three points, USF led 36 of the games 40 minutes, including the entire second half.
With 12.7 seconds remaining in the game, the Hatters were down two points. Then, Stetson’s leading scorer, Divine Myles (20 pts) dribbled full court, driving on USF’s Samuel. Samuel then stopped Myles’ drive, forcing him to pass the ball beyond the three-point arc to Stetson forward B.J. Glasford.
Glasford then went after Samuel as well, shooting a floater that bounced off the rim and into the hands of Da Silva. Da Silva was fouled immediately and sent to the free throw line with 1.4 seconds to play in the game. Da Silva went on to make his first free throw, but missed his second. Stetson then picked up the rebound with 1.1 to play in the game and called a timeout.
Myles caught the inbound at midcourt and threw up a prayer that nearly came true, as the ball hit off the backboard and the rim before falling to the floor — sealing the win for Gregory and his Bulls, who were coming off a 63-53 home loss to Morgan State.
"That's our foundation,” Samuel said. “Coach gets on us every day in practice about playing defense, being in our gaps and finishing the play off the rebound. Those guys, they went on a run at the end, but I got the team together and said, 'Listen, our foundation is defense and that's going to win us this game.' So, they got some stops at the end."
Next up for the Bulls is a game against Indiana in Bloomington, Indiana on Sunday at 6 p.m.