TAMPA – A strong second half pushed the USF Bulls past the Georgetown Hoyas 61-58 on Saturday night, lifting the Bulls to their first Big East Conference victory of the season. USF (10-7) (1-4) shot 50% after the break, led by 14 second-half points from Anthony Collins.
The Bulls started slow from the field and missed each of their first 10 opportunities from 3-point range, yet found themselves down just 23-20 with 3:01 to go in the opening half. Georgetown (12-4) (2-3) extended its lead with an 8-0 run before a trio of Jawanza Poland free throws left the Bulls with a 31-23 deficit entering the locker room.
USF trailed by 10 with 19:08 left, but the Bulls began to heat up from the arc and fought back with a 12-1 run. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, Victor Rudd, Poland, and Collins each knocked down a three to give USF a 35-34 advantage.
The lead would change four more times within the next three minutes, before another Collins trey put the Bulls ahead 43-41.
The Hoyas again made it a one-point game with just 2:23 left on a D’Vaun Smith-Rivera layup, making it 59-58. That score nearly held, until Collins converted a pair of free throws with just three second on the clock.
Three Bulls finished in double figures, led by Poland’s 15. Collins posted five assists along with his 14 points, while JaVontae Hawkins netted 12.
USF would win despite the fact that the Hoyas shot 48.9% from the field and out-rebounded the Bulls 34-23. Otto Porter led Georgetown with a game-high 21 on 8-of-14 shooting.
The Bulls will look for their first conference road win when they travel to Seton Hall on Wednesday, with tipoff set for 7 p.m.