WHO: Florida A&M (2-8) at USF (7-2)
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Sun Dome
RADIO: 98.7-FM The Fan, BullsCast
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA – The Bulls won in thrilling fashion Tuesday night and look to keep their hot start going 7 p.m. Thursday against Florida A&M at the Sun Dome.
USF (7-2) is off to its best start since going 8-1 in 2009-10 after pulling out a 68-66 double-overtime victory over FGCU in the first game of the Las Vegas Classic at the Sun Dome.
“I was very pleased,” said head coach Stan Heath after getting a win on his 49th birthday. “We made some critical plays on both ends. When we need stops, we got stops. When we needed a big basket different guys stepped up.”
The Bulls now focus their attention on the Rattlers before heading out to Las Vegas for the second portion of the Classic. USF is 6-4 all-time against FAMU and has won the past four meetings after posting an 83-59 victory in the series’ last installment on Dec. 11, 2011.
FAMU (2-8) is looking to snap a three-game losing streak after dropping a 78-65 decision at Mississippi State on Tuesday night. One notable Ratter to watch will be Muhammad Abdul-Aleem, who is the twin brother of USF senior guard Musa Abdul-Aleem. The Rattlers are led in scoring by senior guard Jamie Adams (17 ppg) and got a boost from D’Andre Bullard the last time out when the junior guard scored 14 points against the Bulldogs.
The Bulls will wrap up play at the Las Vegas Classic with a test against Mississippi State 8 p.m. Sunday and they'll face UNLV or Santa Clara on Monday, Dec. 23.
Bulls Continue to Come Through in the Clutch
USF has posted three straight two-point victories and the latest one came after the team had a nine-day layoff because of final exams.
“We found a way to get a win,” Heath said. “When you’re coming out of exams and you’ve got a long layover you never know how your team is going to be. When you play a good opponent and you get the win you have to leave here happy.”
Collins Moves Up on Career Assist List
Anthony Collins moved into sole possession of sixth place on USF’s all-time assists list with 394 after dishing out five against FGCU. The junior guard has led the Bulls in assists in each of his seven games this season and needs 87 more to pass Tommy Tonelli (480, 1983-86). USF’s all-time assists leader is Reggie Kohn, who posted 632 from 2000-03.
Watch USF and Support a Good Cause
USF Athletics is offering a special ticket promotion to help support the USF Basketball Giving Tree this holiday season.
Fans can pick up a $10 discounted ticket for USF’s battle with the Rattlers by donating an unwrapped toy at the Sun Dome box office. The Giving Tree is decorated with the names of toys that underprivileged youth in the Tampa Bay area have asked for during the holiday season.
Note: Santa will be at Gate A of the Sun Dome on Thursday from 6-7 p.m. to take pictures.