USF fans who invested in the 2018-19 Bulls are getting the absolute most prominent incentive in program history.
The most recent variant has energy for both the historic and dramatic.
Somewhere around 13 in the first half against American Athletic Conference doormat East Carolina, the Bulls aroused for a bizarre 72-68 additional time triumph Sunday in the nightcap of a Yuengling Center doubleheader.
USF (17-6, 7-4 AAC) is on its initial five-game series of wins in meeting play since 1992, when it was in the Metro. The Bulls have succeeded at least five out of a column twice as of now this season, the first run through the program has accomplished such an accomplishment since 1990-91.
“This was our vision the whole time,” said sophomore David Collins, who came a rebound shy of a double double (21 points, nine rebounds). “We knew we had people doubting us, and we just had to go out there and show everybody that we’re here.”
Collins and Co. head to Orlando on Wednesday for a confrontation with UCF (17-5, 7-3) abruptly brimming with postseason implications.
Be that as it may, back to February franticness.
The Bulls, who entered the end of the week positioned 329th broadly in free-toss rate (63.7 percent), won Sunday’s game at the line.
USF had no field goals in the final 11 minutes, yet it went 6-for-8 starting from the line the stretch in regulation, at that point hit 10 of 14 (71.4 percent) in extra time.
“When we play really well, we can compete with just about anybody. If we don’t play well, we’re not gonna beat anybody,” Bulls second-year coach Brian Gregory said.
“What we did (Sunday) was somewhere in the middle, and then we’ve got to figure out a way to win it. And that’s what our guys did. Our guys figured out a way to win that game.”
At first, the Pirates (9-14, 2-9) flourished from a through and through various line.
In what might fill in as a first-half harbinger, ECU hit its initial four 3-pointers and had a noteworthy lead under four minutes into the game.
The Pirates cooled off only slightly, shooting about 60 percent from the floor (and hitting 6 of 8 3-pointers) in transit to a 39-28 halftime lead. Watchman Shawn Williams drove the way, hitting every one of the four of his 3s in the opening half.
ECU went 0-for-4 from long range whatever remains of the way. Interim, the Bulls overwhelmed the glass, finishing with a 46-22 rebound advantage.
In any case, the Pirates never left, scoring eight out of a column late in the second half for a 60-56 lead. Despite everything they driven by two when Bulls point protect Laquincy Rideau hit two free tosses with 12.7 seconds remaining, tying the score at 62. On ECU’s ensuing possession, Williams’ off-balance jumper was blocked by 6-foot-9 freshman Mayan Kiir, forcing overtime.
“If Mayan isn’t on the ball, (Williams) gets the shot off,” Gregory said. “Mayan’s the only guy in the gym that could get a block on that shot.”
With three players fouled out, East Carolina went 2-for-8 from the floor in extra overtime. The Bulls never even attempted a field goal.
Turns out, they didn’t have to.
“Hard work pays off,” Collins said. “We shoot free throws every day, and we knew they were gonna fall eventually.”
In the opener, first year recruit Elise Pinzan’s sprinter with a second staying missed the mark, topping 30 percent shooting (18-for-60) for USF in a 54-52 misfortune to Houston.
The Bulls (12-12, 3-7 AAC) drove 44-39 right off the bat in the final quarter before the Cougars (12-11, 5-5) left on a 11-0 run, holding USF to two field objectives in the last 9:23.
“Our two go-to guys are in street clothes,” said Bulls coach Jose Fernandez, who has lost four players (including three starters) to season-ending injuries. “We just struggle to make plays down the stretch where we can throw it to somebody that can go get us a basket.”