South Florida uses strong 2nd half to top Temple
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Victor Rudd Jr. made four three-pointers en route to 17 points, as the 12th-seeded South Florida Bulls used a second-half surge to take down the fifth-seeded Temple Owls, 58-44, in a second round Midwest Regional matchup.
Anthony Collins also scored 17 points for the Bulls (22-13), who beat California, 65-54, in the first round in Dayton on Wednesday. The win was the first NCAA Tournament win for South Florida ever.
Toarlyn Fitzpatrick donated nine points for the Bulls, who will next do battle with 13th-seeded Ohio University in the third round on Sunday.
After making just three field goals in the first half, South Florida ended the game 17-of-50 from the floor. They outscored Temple by a 43-25 margin in the second half.
Khalif Wyatt ended with 19 points for the Owls (24-8), who won the Atlantic-10 regular-season title. Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson tallied 10 points.
"I mean, it's really disappointing," Wyatt said. "I mean, I don't know, I don't know what caused it or anything, but, I mean, tonight so far they played better than us in stretches and we just couldn't, couldn't pull it off."
South Florida actually made two field goals in the first two minutes of the game to grab a 5-2 lead.
But the Bulls quickly got cold from the field, and Temple went on a 13-0 run to go in front. Wyatt tallied seven points during the surge to give the Owls a 15-5 margin with eight minutes to go.
South Florida made some foul shots to stay in the game. They scored the final seven points of the half, which was the start of a momentum swing. Wyatt was called for a flagrant 1 foul near the end of the frame, and Augustus Gilchrist made both free throws. Shaun Noriega followed with a three-pointer to make it 19-15 with 2:18 left. That was the score heading into the break.
"Temple came out, they were ready to guard," Fitzpatrick said. "They scouted us really well and they switched on ball screens, went through us, and once we made those adjustments in the second half, we were able to knock down shots and get better looks at the basket."
The Bulls came out of the locker room on fire, starting the second half on a 24-6 run. Fitzpatrick tallied eight points during the burst, which Rudd capped with a trey for a 39-25 lead with 12 minutes to play.
Temple tried to get back in the game with an 11-0 flurry. Ramone Moore's three-pointer cut the gap to 41-38 with 5:45 left.
But everything seemed to be going right for the Bulls, as Rudd banked in a three-pointer to stop the surge. Noriega's free throw and another Rudd trey gave South Florida a 48-38 margin with 2 1/2 minutes remaining.
The Owls never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
"I got to give our players here just a lot of credit," South Florida head coach Stan Heath said. "I'm so proud of them, to be so resilient and come back and fight and scratch and claw and give everything you have, just shows the kind of character these kids have. I'm very blessed and God has been good to me with having guys like this on my team."
Friday's meeting was the first between these two teams that soon will be conference foes. Temple is moving to the Big East for basketball in two years...The Owls made their fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and 30th overall. Temple fell to 32-30 in the NCAA Tournament...South Florida is dancing for the first time since the 1991-92 season...The Bulls shot 34 percent from the field and went 8-of-17 from three-point range, while the Owls shot 35.7 percent from the floor and went 2-of-12 from beyond the arc.
03/17 01:48:31 ET