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Memphis gives Bulls the blues

The USF men’s basketball team finished its 2002-03 season Thursday with a reminder of its biggest win in coach Seth Greenberg’s tenure — 75-74 at Memphis Jan. 18.

The Bulls played the Tigers down to the wire, during their second-round matchup in the Conference USA Tournament Thursday.

Memphis ousted USF from the C-USA Tournament 62-56 despite the Bulls pulling within one point as the clock ticked down to two minutes, 12 seconds.

“It’s disappointing,” USF coach Seth Greenberg said. “We played with tremendous tenacity, and the kids played well. It’s definitely disappointing.”

Senior Will McDonald brought the score to 54-53 on a putback before the Tigers’ Jeremy Hunt hit a three-pointer to seal the victory.

McDonald paced USF, tallying 16 points and nine rebounds in 33 minutes.

Underneath the basket, McDonald was matched against 6-foot-8 NBA prospect Chris Massie.

Massie led the Tigers’ inside game, scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to help give Memphis a 43-38 advantage on the boards.

Adding to Memphis’ punch underneath the basket was forward Rodney Carney, who also contributed 18 points and added two blocks.

The two combined to score 11 points in 18 attempts from the free-throw line, adding to Memphis’s 17-of-27 shooting.

USF, who has struggled with its free throw shooting throughout the season, connected on only 50 percent of its attempts against the Tigers.

“The problem is 13-of-26 from the free-throw line and 1-of-15 from the three-point line,” Greenberg said. “That was the tell-tale of the game.

“We played Memphis for 120 minutes,” Greenberg said. “We held them for under 40 percent for 120 minutes. We just didn’t shoot the ball from the foul line and three-point line.

“If you look at the stats, we played 2-2 for 120 minutes.”

The Bulls’ top three-point sniper, senior Reggie Kohn, was 0-of-8 while scoring 11 points.

The day before, USF defeated DePaul 76-74 in a first round matchup behind the spirited play of Kohn.

Following his final game at the Sun Dome against Tulane March 5, Kohn addressed the crowd, saying, “We are not done yet,” with a fire in his eye. After that 12-point, 4-assist performance against the Green Wave, Kohn carried that momentum into the C-USA Tournament.

Kohn scored 18 points in the first half on 6-of-7 from three-point range. The 6-foot-1 guard finished by posting game-highs of 23 points and five assists.

The 23 points also pushed the Winter Park product past the 1,000 mark for his career.

Kohn paced the Bulls to 51 percent shooting and 52.4 percent from three-point range.

After defeating the Bulls, Memphis lost to Louisville, after the Cardinals defeated Tulane in the second round.

The big upsets in the C-USA Tournament came when UAB defeated No. 1 seed Marquette in the second round and Southern Miss defeated Cincinnati in the opening round.

Bryan Fazio covers USF men’s basketball and can be reached at