Collins free-throws clinch Bulls win
With 3.2 seconds left, true freshman Anthony Collins went to the free-throw line for what he called the biggest attempts of his life, scoring both the game-tying and go-ahead points and carrying the USF men's basketball team to a thrilling 46-45 win over Cincinnati.
The Bulls (18-11, 11-5) and Bearcats were tied for fifth in the league standings as they met in a crucial showdown at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Sunday, with USF surviving to notch a win for their NCAA Tournament resume and secure a spot on the bubble for their first NCAA Tournament berth in two decades.
Neither team led by more than six points in a tight game. With only 9.5 seconds left in the game, Cincinnati took a one-point lead with a layup by Cashmere Wright.
The Bulls regained possession, but instead of using their final timeout to discuss plans for their pivotal position, coach Stan Heath allowed Collins to run the show.
The young point guard drove the lane and drew the foul that sent him to the line with a chance to win the game. He finished with a game-high 14 points.
"Coach just said if I see an opening, he trusts me, my teammates trust me, they say just go with it," Collins said. "It felt good. That was the craziest basket of my career. I say that and I'm glad it went in my favor."
As Cincinnati (20-9, 10-6) inbounded the ball, USF guard Hugh Robertson fouled Dion Dixon, breaking up their offensive play and leaving just 0.7 seconds on the clock.
USF's Victor Rudd Jr. tipped the ensuing inbounds attempt as the buzzer sounded and the Bulls celebrated a win.
"Well, that was a great win for our program," Heath said. "I was kind of relaxed and comfortable and my athletics director, Doug Woolard, grabbed me before the game and said, ‘This is the biggest game in our history, you know that?' And I got really nervous after that."
Helping the Bulls win was their ever-present defense, which leads the Big East in scoring. The Bearcats shot just 34 percent from the floor and 20 percent from 3-point range, while USF shot 41.3 percent from the floor.
Just before Wright's go-ahead layup, 47.4 percent free-throw shooter Ron Anderson Jr. made a pair of free throws to set the stage for the dramatic finale.
With the win under their belt, the Bulls find themselves firmly on the bubble for their first NCAA Tournament berth in two decades.
"Before today we were definitely on the outside looking in," Heath said. "Everybody kept talking about, ‘Well, this is the part of their schedule that's either going to make or break them.' The first step, we passed. We still need some wins. I still feel that winning down the stretch is going to be the answer to the questions."
USF can take another step with a road test against No. 17 Louisville on Wednesday.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
More usforacle News Articles
Recent usforacle News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR USFORACLE
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST USFORACLE NEWS
- Letter To The Editor: From voices of the USF community: We do not welcome...
- Table for two: Valentine’s Day ideas for everyone
- USF staff loses Hope, potentially adds former Buccaneer
- Florida Legislature kills LGBT discrimination ban
- USF partners with Brazilian university
- Students express varying opinions on Trump’s visit
- Divestment resolution scrutinized by court
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- The ABCs of ACA -- Advice for Business Owners in 2016
- Hope for Sufferers of Myofascial Pain?
- A Delicious and Warm Pear Salad for Winter
- Major Maryland Piano Store to Close Its Doors
- A Better Valentine's Day Gift for Couples?
- Crowdfunding's Latest Effort: Preventing Youth Sports...
- El Regalo Ideal Para Cualquier Etapa De Tu Relación
- Seeing a Chiropractor First Can Save You Money
- Flu Season Has Arrived: Helpful Tips to Prevent the...
- 2016 Resolutions: Time for an Update?