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Bulls dominate second half in first Big East win

Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 00:01

The Sun Dome erupted in cheers on Saturday evening as the men’s basketball team beat Georgetown, 61-58, in the Bulls’ (10-7, 1-4) first Big East win this season.

Since the Sun Dome’s reopening on Nov. 10 against UCF, fans hadn’t been louder, and coach Stan Heath thought the win was a must for the team to move on as it faces Seton Hall Wednesday. 

“We needed that one,” Heath said. “I really felt like our backs were against the wall. That was a gutsy performance by our team.”

The Bulls defense held off the Hoyas’ (12-4, 2-3) last-second charge to give USF its victory, snapping a four-game losing streak in the conference.

Sophomore guard Anthony Collins led a Bulls turnaround, scoring all of his 14 points in the second half for a team that couldn’t seem to miss.

“The second half, I thought, was the difference in the game,” Heath said.

Georgetown went on a small 4-0 run that had the Hoyas down 59-58 with 2:23 left in the game, putting nearly all of the 6,189 attendees on their feet.

With three seconds left on the clock, Hoyas’ Otto Porter — who carried his team leading Georgetown with 21 points on the night — tossed up a three pointer but with no success.

As USF hustled for a rebound, Collins ended up with the ball — holding on among the USF cheers — and joining the rest of the Big East with a conference win.

“This (has) to be one of the all-time most competitive top to bottom races that we’ve had.” Heath said. 

“Georgetown is a very good team, we had a mental preparation for Georgetown which I think is one of the hardest teams to prepare for. To have these guys to come out and execute a game plan in such a short amount of time shows how focused we were and how determined we were to find a way to get a win.”

Down at halftime 31-23, the Bulls came out of the locker room with something to prove.

After an abysmal first half of shooting 31 percent from the field and going 1 of 14 frombeyond the arch, the Bulls kicked things off in the second half, hitting five three-pointers within the first five minutes of play.

“When you’re 0-4 in the league and you’re not feeling great about yourself, down by eight at halftime, you kind of say ‘How are we going to be here? Are we going to fight back?’” Heath said. “I thought we saw a lot in our basketball team. They were willing to battle.”

It started with a three-pointer by senior forward Toralyn Fitzpatrick, who hit two of the five for USF, which started a 17-2 run for the Bulls.

The Bulls ended their second half going seven of 13 from the three-point range and shooting 50 percent from the field.

Nowhere on the court was safe from the Bulls as Collins and senior guard Jawanza Poland shot perfectly from the free throw line, going 6-6 and 5-5 respectively.

Poland finished the night with 15 points as the lead scorer, and one of three players to score into double figures.

In addition to making few mistakes in shooting, USF only turned the ball over five times the game, forcing the Hoyas to 15, something that will need to continue throughout the conference.

Georgetown must have been shocked at the play coming from USF, considering in the first half the Bulls seemed to be fizzling out.

The night started off hot for USF, jumping out to a 10-5 lead five minutes in. Freshman guard JaVontae Hawkins led the charge scoring eight of the 10 points.

Hawkins had 12 points on the night, but the run did not last long.

The Hoyas began their attack at the basket. After Hawkins lit up the scoreboard, Georgetown went on a 9-0 run to snag the lead.

From there, USF found itself in a game of catch-up, and didn’t regain a lead until the second half.

The Bulls hope to take this momentum on the road at Seton Hall this Wednesday at 7 p.m. and back to the Sun Dome to take on Notre Dame
Saturday at 12 p.m.

 

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