Toarlyn Fitzpatrick converted a tiebreaking three-point play with 55.5 seconds left to play as the South Florida Bulls rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to knock off the #24 Seton Hall Pirates 56-55 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Friday night.
The Bulls (10-8, 3-2 Big East) finished the game on a 14-3 run after the Pirates had led 52-42 with six minutes to play. But USF had to survive a strange final 55 seconds. First, Seton Hall cut the Bulls' lead to one after a Jordan Crawford heave from near half court to beat the shot clock buzzer careened right to Patrik Auda for a layup. Then after Jawanza Poland missed the front end of a one-and-one with 21 seconds left, Crawford got the ball and tried to dish to Herb Pope for what would have been an easy lay-in. However, Fitzpatrick recovered to knock the pass out of bounds and preserve the Bulls' lead.
Crawford was fouled by Anthony Collins on the ensuing inbounds play, and went to the free throw line for a one-and-one that could have given Seton Hall the lead back. Crawford is an 86% free throw shooter, but he missed the first free throw, and the rebound rolled away from everyone as the clock ran to zero.
Ron Anderson Jr. led a balanced USF offense with 14 points. Victor Rudd got the start and added nine points, while Augustus Gilchrist had eight points and a team-high seven rebounds.
Theodore led all scorers with 16 points for Seton Hall (15-3, 4-2 Big East). Haralds Karlis came off the bench and scored 12 points on four 3-pointers. But the Bulls' defense did a good job on Pope, whose 10 points and seven rebounds were far below his season averages of 17 and 10.8.
With the win, USF beat a ranked opponent for the first time since February 3, 2010, when they beat Georgetown in their second of two consecutive wins against ranked teams. The Bulls will be back in action on Wednesday night at the Forum, facing the St. John's Red Storm.