Freshman point guard Anthony Collins hit two game winning free throws with 3 seconds to go as the USF Bulls (18-11, 11-5) beat the Cincinnati Bearcats (20-9, 10-6) 46-45 tonight at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Collins led all scorers with 14 points on 6-12 shooting while also dishing out 5 assists. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick added 8 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls and Ron Anderson Jr. added 7 points, including 2 big free throws with 26 seconds left. Sean Kilpatrick was the only Bearcat in double figures with 13 points while Justin Jackson had 8 points off the bench.
Although the game was played at a snail's pace, it provided some real drama at the end. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick gave the Bulls a 42-41 win with 2:25 to go after his three-pointer rolled around the rim for 2 seconds before going in. After a couple of defensive stops on either end, Cashmere Wright nailed a pull up jumper with 1:07 left to give the Bearcats the lead. Then the fun began
Cincinnati looked like they were going to force a shot clock violation, but Yancy Gates inexplicably fouled Ron Anderson Jr. with only 2 seconds left on the shot clock. It was a 1 and 1 situation for Anderson Jr. at the line, and once again the rim gave the Bulls a fortuitous roll on his first free throw to tie the game up. Anderson Jr. made the 2nd to give the Bulls a 44-43 lead.
After a Cincinnati timeout, Cashmere Wright gave UC the lead right back with 11 seconds after driving to the lane for a layup. Anthony Collins took the ball the length of the court and was fouled by Dion Dixon. Collins calmly made both free throws for the lead and ultimately the win.
USF will have a big chance to bolster their resume on Wednesday when they head up to Louisville to take on the #17 ranked Cardinals.