TAMPA, MARCH 2, 2017 – Despite leading for over 28 minutes, the University of South Florida men’s basketball team (7-21, 1-16 The American) was defeated 59-56 by the UCF Knights (20-10, 11-7) in the War on I-4 on Thursday night.
The Bulls led by five points, 56-51, with 2:48 remaining in regulation, but the Knights ended the contest with an 8-0 run to secure the road victory.
Trailing 57-56, USF nearly went ahead with eight seconds left but a Geno Thorpe (Pittsburgh) mid-range jumper swirled around the rim and out. UCF’s A.J. Davis rebounded the miss and made a pair of free throws to go up by three points with five seconds to go. USF turned to freshman guard Michael Bibby (Phoenix) on the final possession but his long range three from the wing fell short.
The Bulls were ahead for the majority of the first half. Da Silva paced USF early on with eight of the team’s first 15 points. The Knights trailed by as many as eight points in the opening stanza.
UCF rallied back to tie the contest three separate times in the second half before going ahead on a B.J. Taylor trey with 1:30 to play. It was the first Knights lead since holding the 4-2 edge in the first half.
Junior center Ruben Guerrero (Spain) posted six points, 10 rebounds and a season-high five blocks.
“That was a hard one. Very proud of our guys…When you look at the game, I thought we defended incredibly well, and rebounded incredibly well. We defended hard. The guys followed the game plan perfectly. Defensively we rebounded great. Offensively, I wish a few more baskets would have gone down.”
“It was awesome...(The fans) support us no matter how we’re doing. They’re still there for us every game. Just seeing that they were there for us for forty minutes, it was unfortunate that we couldn’t give them the win.”
Holston registered 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting. It was his 22nd career double figure game
Fitts added seven rebounds.
This was Da Silva’s 17th double figure game, and third in a row.
Thorpe’s eight assists were one shy of matching his career-best.
USF outscored UCF 28-16 in the paint.
The Bulls bench also outpaced the Knights 24-7.
USF concludes the regular season when the Bulls host Temple on Sunday. Tip time is set for 2 p.m. at the Sun Dome.Purchase tickets HERE.
About USF Men’s Basketball
The USF men’s basketball team is led by interim head coach Murry Bartow. Coach Bartow has served as a collegiate basketball coach for 30 seasons and boasts eight postseason tournaments, including four NCAA Tournaments.
USF has retired three numbers in its 46-year history: Chucky Atkins (12), Charlie Bradley (30) and Radenko Dobras (31). The Bulls have earned three NCAA tournament bids and appeared in the NIT eight times. In the 2011-12 season, USF was one win away from an appearance in the Sweet 16.
For tickets, contact the USF Ticket Office at 1-800-Go-Bulls or by going online to USFBullsTix.com.