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USF Men’s Basketball SQUEAKS Past Stetson, 75-72

A step in the right direction, I suppose?

NCAA Basketball: Florida Atlantic at South Florida Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

I might have to take the negative angle on this one. The USF men’s basketball team just barely squeaked past Stetson on Wednesday night, 75-72, to pickup their first road win of the season ever and Brian Gregory’s 250th career victory.

Stetson, who USF has not lost to since 1989 ever, is coming of an 11-21 season and has not recorded a winning season SINCE THE YEAR 2000. They play in a GYM, not an arena, that holds barely 4,000 people. And trust me, we didn’t reach that Wednesday night.

Then again, this is a brand-new USF team with a brand new coach and I guess we have reached the (low) point where this is their first road game ever. We can consider this a big win. So, let’s go with it.

The Bulls shot an impressive 52% from the field to go along with a solid 45% (10/22) from the three-point line. 51 of the 75 Bulls points in this game were scored by graduate transfers. Stephan Jiggetts led the way with 18 points and was for 4-for-8 from behind the arc.

Payton Banks played more like we all hoped he would, finishing with 18 points and going 4-for-7 from three himself. He added four rebounds.

USF led 41-30 at halftime but once Stetson cut the lead to single digits in the first few minutes of the second half, it stayed there the rest of the way.

The game went back-and-forth for the final five minutes and was tied at 72 with just over two minutes remaining. A Tulio Da Silva jumper with 2:22 left gave the Bulls a 74-72 lead that they would not relinquish. He added a crucial free throw with just 1.5 seconds remaining to seal the win. Da Silva finished with 11 points and tied for the team lead with eight rebounds.

The Bulls held the Hatters scoreless for the last 2:46 of the game and survived a buzzer-beating heave from half court by Stetson that almost bounced in to send it to overtime.

USF improves to 2-1 and is already a fifth of the way to their win total from last season in their inaugural season. That’s really something. The Bulls return to action on Sunday afternoon at Indiana. Yes, the Indiana that plays at Assembly Hall. From the Edmunds Center in DeLand, FL to gods country in Bloomington, IN where basketball rules over all. Should be a fun watch.