The South Florida Bulls Big East tournament run ended on Thursday night with a quarterfinals loss to the No. 3 seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish. USF squandered a late lead and could not convert in overtime as the Irish pulled out the 57-53 win. It was a slow-paced slog that started with an early double-digit lead for the Bulls before ND stormed back for a two-point halftime lead. USF responded late in the second half as Notre Dame was scoreless for five and half minutes, spotting the Bulls a late lead
USF enjoyed a three-point advantage with just 38 seconds remaining but turnovers and a missed layup and free throw by Jawanza Poland let the Irish even it up and force overtime at 45-45. It was only the second overtime game of the season for South Florida, and they simply ran out of gas in the extra session.
Freshman Anthony Collins continued a breakout tournament, finishing with 13 points just one night after leading USF past Villanova with 17 points in the second round. Collins dislocated his finger late in the second half and had to go to the locker room to have it popped back into place. He would come back and return to the game with under four minutes remaining. Victor Rudd had a big game for Stan Heath as well, hitting four three-pointers and scoring a game-high 16 points.
An upset win would have likely secured an NCAA tournament berth but not the Bulls are at the mercy of the selection committee and will need to wait until Sunday night.
For more news, analysis, and discussion of the Bulls' run to March Madness, check out Voodoo Five, SB Nation's USF blog. For all your Big East news during championship week, check out Big East Coast Bias. Click here for more on the 2012 Big East Tournament.