USF men’s basketball was unable to hang on to a 10-point lead late in their Orange Bowl Classic matchup with No. 19 Florida State in Sunrise, ultimately falling 66-60 to the Seminoles at the BT&T Center on Saturday.
Leading 57-47 with 6:32 left in the ballgame, the Bulls (6-6) endured a disastrous final six minutes of action that saw them commit several costly turnovers while FSU (10-2) broke off a 17-1 run. Head coach Brian Gregory’s ballclub finished the game with 24 turnovers total.
Things were looking up for the SoFlo clad Bulls from the tip as they took advantage of the Seminoles going a woeful 1-for-12 from the field to start the contest, racing out to a 17-4 lead early on in the first half.
FSU, however, started clamping down defensively and limited USF’s ability to drive to the basket on the offensive end. Raiquan Gray and the Noles chipped away USF’s lead throughout the rest of the half with a 12-2 run bringing them back to within one of their in-state foe from Tampa.
A Xavier Castaneda layup right before the buzzer allowed USF to take a 31-28 lead into the half.
The two Sunshine State squads traded blows well into the second half before Laquincy Rideau broke two halfcourt traps to find Justin Brown on the left wing for three to put them up 50-47. A technical foul on Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton allowed David Collins to sink two free throws to extend their modest lead and he proceeded to bury a trey of his own USF’s next possession to put them up by eight. The Bulls pushed their advantage out to 10 with a Michael Durr slam.
Then the wheels immediately came off.
Capitalizing on the Bulls’ cold spell from the field and the aforementioned turnovers, FSU managed to tie the game at 58-all before a Devin Vassell pullup jumper put them up by two with 2:01 remaining. The Noles would go up by two scores with Trent Forrest dunk assisted by Vassel off a steal and eventually iced the non-conference matchup with a Patrick Williams dunk in the final minute.
They will return home next Sunday at 5 p.m. to close their non-conference schedule with FAU.
- Durr led USF with 15 points and seven rebounds. Rideau had 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Collins offered 14 points despite tweaking his thumb and missing most of the first half.
- Raiquan Gray, Trent Forrest, M.J. Walker and Anthony Polite all achieved double-digits with 11 points apiece.
- USF is now 1-4 away from the Yuengling Center this season.