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USF Men’s Basketball Survives Nailbiter in 58-56 Win over Wofford.

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Shoutout to Jamir Chaplin.

NCAA Basketball: Holiday Hoopsgiving-Wofford at South Florida Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Jamir Chaplin made the most of his 20 minutes of action in USF men’s basketball Holiday Hoopsgiving showcase against Wofford in Atlanta, getting both the game-winning tip-in and the game-sealing steal in the Bulls’ tight 58-56 victory over the Terriers on Saturday.

The Bulls (4-2) took control of the showcase at State Farm Arena early, jumping out to a 10-7 lead within the first five minutes of action. The good vibes would cease however as a six minute plus scoring drought allowed the Terriers (2-2) to rip off a 9-0 run to get on top.

Enter Justin Brown and Alexis Yetna for the Green and Gold, who combined for the Bulls’ next 11 points to give them the advantage once again. Despite shooting under 30 percent from the field for most of the first half, Wofford buried five threes and turned 13 USF turnovers into 13 points to only trail 25-24 at the break.

Wofford, who was a last-minute replacement for LSU after the Tigers pulled out of the showcase due to COVID, came out of the locker rooms blazing with a 6-0 run to start the second half. Former Bull B.J. Mack kicked off a run of three straight treys to extend their growing lead and a Tray Hollowell shot from downtown put them up 42-34, their largest lead of the game.

Off the bench, Xavier Castaneda countered by burying two threes off his own to kickstart a 14-3 run that swung momentum back towards USF. A pair of David Collins layups put them back on top and a Russel Tchewa jumper gave them a 48-45 lead and forced the Terrier to take a timeout with 8:51 left in the contest.

Both teams traded blows down the stretch with the two non-conference foes finding themselves tied at 56 late. Calling a timeout with 44.5 seconds left, Brian Gregory’s squad had a chance to take control of the back-and-forth battle.

And they did.

Running the shot clock down, Castaneda’s shot clanked of the iron but was rebounded by Rashun Williams. When his shot missed, there was Chaplin with a quick tip-in to give the Bulls a 58-56 advantage with just under 20 seconds left.

With the opportunity to tie or take the lead, a Hollowell step-back three missed and was rebounded by, you guessed it, Chaplin, who was fouled immediately. Missing the free throw, the Terriers called for time immediately after rebounding with 1.2 left on the clock. Needing to get the ball down court, the ensuing pass was intercepted by Chaplin, sealing the much needed non-conference ‘W’ for the Bulls.

Notables

  • Collins led the Bulls with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Alexis Yetna followed suit with 11 points and four boards.
  • Hollowell led all scorers with 21 points, five rebounds and three assists. Storm Murphy back him up with 17 points, eight rebound and six assists.
  • Wofford only scored six points in the paint.
  • USF head coach Brian Gregory picked up win No. 300 for his career.
  • USF will begin conference play this Wednesday at Cincinnati.