For the first time since March 5, 2015, the University of South Florida Bulls men’s basketball team defeated the Central Florida Golden Knights 64-48 Saturday afternoon in front of over 6,000 fans inside the Yuengling Center.
“After our walk-through last night, I just knew we were going to win the game,” head coach Brian Gregory said. “The reason why is because Robert Herrion addressed the team.”
Robert is the son of assistant coach Tom Herrion, and Robert is on the Autism spectrum. Saturday was the annual Autism Speaks awareness game nationwide, which was started by Herrion.
“[Robert] talked about the fact that he feel like a part of our program, and that he looks up to our guys as big brothers, and as role models. He just knew we were going to get the job done.”
The Bulls used a 28-6 run in the first half that lasted just over nine minutes to turn a 10-6 deficit into a 36-16 lead with 3:07 left in the half.
Laquincy Rideau tied the game at 10 with a fastbreak dunk, then the Bulls turned a single possession into a seven point lead. Justin Brown hit a three, and Antun Maricevic was hit in the head and made one-of-two free throws. Then Brown was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all three to give USF a 17-10 lead that they’d never surrender.
Rideau and Brown each had a team-high 14 points, and Ezacuras Dawson added 12 points of his own as well.
USF (10-12, 3-6 AAC) took a 38-22 lead into halftime thanks to a buzzer-beating runner by Rideau. That was the only field goal the Bulls made over an 12-minute span from three minutes left in the first half to a three by Justin Brown with 11 minutes left in the second half. The Bulls stifling defense never let the Golden Knights (11-10, 2-7 AAC) get closer than ten points during that run.
The Bulls have a week off before they travel to Memphis to face the Tigers at 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
- Center Michael Durr was held out due to a knee injury against Tulane.
- The Bulls are 16-4 all-time when Justin Brown scores in double figures.
- USF was 24-of-30 (80%) from the free throw line.