The USF men’s basketball team dropped a 79-78 overtime decision to the Elon Phoenix on Thursday night in front of 487 people at Alumni Gym in Elon, NC.
The Bulls (4-4) lost by 13 points to this same Phoenix time last season at the Sun Dome so...improvement?
Elon, who returned all five starters from an 18-14 team last season, grabbed a 36-34 lead over USF at the half. Stephan Jiggetts led all Bulls in the first half with 14 points, and finished the game with 21 points and three boards.
Graduate transfer Payton Banks came up a point shy of his career high, scoring 24 points and knocking down 4 of 9 from behind the arc. The Bulls shot 46% from the floor as team and 47% (8-for-17) from the three-point line.
USF trailed 67-64 with three minutes remaining in the game before Jiggets and Banks rallied the Bulls to a 70-70 tie and overtime. The Bulls actually had possession and a chance at a game-winning shot in regulation after a Phoenix turnover allowed sophomore Tulio Da Silva a nice looking layup chance at the buzzer... that he missed.
Da Silva finished with one point and was 0-for-6 from the floor. Perhaps only junior Nikola Scekic had a worse night, with zero points and two fouls in nearly eight minutes played.
USF did not score for the final 2:49 of overtime but yet again, had a shot at a game-winner. The Bulls, trailing 79-78, had possession out of a timeout with just nine seconds remaining before Jiggets missed a jumper at the buzzer.
The Bulls have now gone one calendar year without a victory outside the state of Florida. Again, not much more needs to be said.
USF will stay in North Carolina for a Saturday evening contest at Appalachian State.