- Associated Press - Saturday, January 19, 2013

TAMPA, Fla. — Anthony Collins scored all 14 of his points in the second half, including a couple of free throws with 3 seconds remaining, to lead South Florida to its first Big East victory of the season Saturday night, a 61-58 decision over Georgetown.

Desperate for a conference victory, the Bulls (10-7, 1-4) overcame an 11-point deficit, a 34-23 rebounding disadvantage and the lack of a field goal in the final 6 1/2 minutes of the game.

They also missed their first 10 3-points shots. But when the shots started dropping early in the second half, the game turned sharply in USF’s favor.

“They started making them,” said Georgetown coach John Thompson III, “and quite honestly, our sense of urgency to get up on their shooters wasn’t what it needed to be.”

The Hoyas never regained the momentum.

“This is a great league. I think this is one of the most competitive races, top to bottom, that we’ve had in this league,” USF coach Stan Heath said. “Georgetown is a very good team, and to beat them by any means took a great effort. I thought that last (defensive) stand really signified what it took to get the job done.”

Otto Porter scored 21 points for Georgetown, but lost control of the ball in the final seconds while the Hoyas (12-4, 2-3) were working for a game-winning shot. They called two timeouts in the final 30 seconds to set up the shot that never came. Porter dribbled into traffic, arms slapped at the ball and it popped loose.

“It’s the Big East,” Porter said. “There’s supposed to be a lot of contact.”

Collins converted Georgetown’s 15th turnover into the final free throws, giving USF its first Big East victory after losses to Syracuse, Villanova, Louisville and Rutgers, teams that took a combined 55-12 record into Saturday.

“I think it gets a little weight off your back,” Heath said. “When you get off to that start, you’re scratching your head, your confidence is a little shaken. In fairness, our schedule has been as tough as anybody’s in the first five games.”

Jawanza Poland led USF with 15 points, including two free throws with 3:40 left that stood as the Bulls’ final points until Collins‘ foul shots.

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera came off the bench with 16 points for the Hoyas, who shot 48.9 percent (22 of 45) for the game but had 10 more turnovers than South Florida.

USF struggled with Georgetown’s zone in the first half, missing its first 10 3-point shots and 13 of 14 overall.

Poland hit USF’s first 3-pointer more than 17 minutes into the game, but the Bulls made seven of their first nine from behind the arc in the second half, including two each by Collins, Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and Victor Rudd.

A 3-pointer by Markel Starks pushed the Hoyas ahead after a slow start, opening a 15-4 run that left them with a 31-20 lead late in the first half.

Porter opened the second half with a three-point play, regaining an 11-point lead for Georgetown, before the Bulls answered with their 3-point barrage.

South Florida shot only 39.2 percent (20 of 51) for the game and only 29.6 percent (8 for 27) from 3-point range. But the Bulls sizzled for 7 minutes, and that proved to be just enough.

The loss broke a two-game winning streak for Georgetown.



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