J. Meric

USF's Comeback Try Falls Short at Rutgers

January 17, 2013
Team 1st 2nd OT Final
USF 30 37 -- 67
27 43 -- 70



USF Senior Writer

TAMPA - Jawanza Poland posted a game-high 17 points off the bench, but the Bulls didn't have enough firepower down the stretch to seize their first Big East win of the season Thursday night.

USF had two shots at tying it up in the final minute before losing to the Scarlet Knights, 70-67, at the Rutgers Athletic Center. The Bulls fell to 9-7 and 0-4 in league play while Rutgers improved to 12-4 (3-2).

"It's a tough loss for us. I thought our team fought hard, and since the break probably played one of our best games," USF head coach Stan Heath said. "We were much better offensively, not as strong on the defensive end and they kind of took advantage of maybe some matchups with those quick guards that they have."

Anthony Collins returned to top form with 11 points and eight assists, Victor Rudd added 11 points and freshman JaVontae Hawkins posted 10 points in a starting role as USF was unable to halt its losing streak at three.

"I wanted to improve offensively and saw significant improvement in that area," said Heath, whose Bulls averaged 45 points in losses to Syracuse, Villanova and Louisville.

USF's offense started with an early surge in the Bulls' final stop during a two-game road trip.

A pair of alley-oop dunks by Poland and Hawkins helped USF start off with a 12-9 lead with 10 of those points scored inside the paint.

A dunk Rutgers' Kadeem Jack marked the first of four lead changes before a 3-pointer by Zach LeDay gave USF a 28-27 advantage with 42 seconds to go before halftime. Martino Brock's bank shot off the glass beat the buzzer and gave the Bulls more momentum heading into the break.

Hawkins was up to 10 points at halftime after helping USF finish with a 22-10 edge in the paint. LeDay started 3-for-3 from the field and scored all of his seven points in the first period.

Four points apiece from Carter and Myles Mack powered an 11-2 run that put Rutgers ahead, 38-32, three minutes into the second half. The Scarlet Knights had an eight-point lead with less than nine minutes to go when Poland stepped up when USF needed a spark. The senior hit two straight 3-pointers and two Collins free throws cut Rutgers' lead to 56-54 with 7:33 to play.

Carter checked back into the game with four fouls a minute later and his presence on the court reignited a Rutgers offense that went on a 9-4 run after Collins' free throws. Rutgers' lead was back up to eight until Rudd nailed a 3-pointer with 3:04 left and Poland followed with an alley-oop dunk to get the Bulls within three with 2:17 remaining.

Down by three, USF forced its first turnover of the second half with less than a minute to go but turned it over. The Bulls' had one last shot at tying it up before the buzzer, but Rudd's last-second 3-point attempt rimmed out.

"Unfortunately we lost, but we continued to make improvements in a lot of areas and we have to continue to build on that," Heath said.

The Bulls are 7-4 at home this season and look to add to their Sun Dome success 6 p.m. Saturday against Georgetown.














USF FG-A 3FG-A FT-A  Pts. 
Jawanza Poland 7-10 3-5 0-0 17
FG-A  3FG-A  FT-A Pts. 
Wally Judge 7-8 0-0 0-1 15
USF Off. Def. Total
Martino Brock 2 5 7
Rutgers Off. Def. Tota

Kadeem Jack

3 4 7
USF Asst. Stl.  Blk. 
Anthony Collins 8 1 0
Rutgers Asst. Stl. Blk.
Jerome Seagears 7 0 0

MORE FROM Men's Basketball