USF forward Victor Rudd walked off the court with his hands on his head, sporting a disgusted look on his face. The Bulls had just lost to the Scarlet Knights 74-73 in the Louis Brown Athletic Center in Piscataway, N.J.
USF coach Stan Heath gave the ball to Rudd on the final possession of the game, but the senior couldn’t get a running shot in the lane to fall. Freshman center John Egbunu nearly saved the Bulls with a tip in shot just before the final buzzer, but his putback attempt was short and it softly bounced back off of the front rim.
The loss marked USF’s sixth in a row and gives Rutgers the regular season sweep over the Bulls
USF (12-17, 3-13) led by 10 at halftime, but Rutgers (11-18, 5-11) was able to come back with 14 second-half points from forward Kadeem Jack.
The junior was instrumental in both victories for Rutgers against USF this season. He scored 31 points in the first meeting with the Bulls this season and his layup with 14 seconds left in Sunday’s game ended up being the deciding factor.
A win for the Bulls would have pushed their total to 13 for the season, one more than last season. But with the loss, USF will have two more games to win that elusive thirteenth game.
Rudd nearly had a double-double in the loss, scoring 26 points and grabbing nine rebounds. He led all players in scoring with four 3-pointers, his highest total on the season.
For the Bulls, the loss hurts more than just their pride. Now, they will have to participate in a play-in game just to make it into their own conference tournament. If USF wins, they will have to play another game the next day.
Only two regular season games remain on the schedule for the Bulls: road game against Houston and a home game against Temple.
For the team, these two games will have little to no implications regarding post-season opportunities, but the coaching staff will likely be searching for late wins to add to their resume before the new athletic director is hired.
USF’s next game will be on the road at Houston on Tuesday. The game will begin at 8:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNNews.