South Florida upsets Temple 58-44
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- South Florida gave the Temple Owls an early preview of the Big East's grinding style, and the Bulls added another upset to the NCAA tournament.
Victor Rudd Jr. and Anthony Collins each scored 17 points, and the Bulls shook off a frigid first 20 minutes, upsetting fifth-seeded Temple 58-44 on Friday night in the Midwest Regional.
The No. 12 seeded Bulls (22-13) took it to the Atlantic 10 regular season champ with their bruising, Big East-style play and held Temple 20 points below its previous season low in scoring.
That allowed the Bulls, who beat California 65-54 in Dayton on Wednesday night, to overcome a first half in which they went nearly 16 minutes without a field goal and missed 22 consecutive. In their third NCAA tournament, the Bulls will play No. 13 seed Ohio, a 65-60 winner against Michigan, on Sunday.
Khalif Wyatt led Temple (24-8) with 19 points, and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson had 10.
The Owls came into the tournament saying anything less than a regional semifinal would be a disappointment. Now they have some explaining to do after shooting a season-low 35.7 percent (15 of 42) for the game. Ramone Moore came in leading the Owls with 17.7 points per game. He finished with five, his third game this season in single digits.
South Florida outrebounded Temple 37-28 and had a big edge outside the arc, where the Bulls hit 6 of 8 in the second half. Temple did outshoot South Florida overall (34 percent, 17 of 50), but the Bulls hit 14 of 23 in the second half.
Maybe it was fatigue from playing 48 hours earlier combined with travel to Nashville. The opening minutes were so ugly -- with both teams racing up and down the floor missing shots -- that Rudd put up his hand and motioned at his teammates to slow down just a bit after he stole the ball back.
The Bulls couldn't have missed more shots in the first half if they tried, going nearly 16 minutes without a field goal and missing 22 straight.
Somehow, they flipped a switch at halftime, hitting six of their first seven. Hugh Robertson tied it at 19 with a big dunk in the first minute, and Wyatt answered with a jumper with 17:56 remaining. That was Temple's own first field goal since T.J. DiLeo's layup with 6:34 left in the first half.
Collins scored on a layup, then Shaun Noriega hit a long 3-pointer to give South Florida its first lead of the game at 24-21 with 16:54 to go.
The Bulls hit nine of their first 11 to start the second half, part of a 31-6 stretch in rallying from their largest deficit at 19-8. They finished the spurt in style, too. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick hit a bucket, then connected on consecutive 3-pointers. Rudd gave South Florida its biggest lead adding a third straight 3, putting the Bulls up 39-25 with 12:03 left.
Temple, which averaged 76.1 points during the season, came back with 11 straight points capped by a 3-pointer by Wyatt with 5:44 left. Rudd answered with a 3, then Wyatt was called for a technical after he complained that no foul was called when he drove to the basket and missed.
Rudd hit his fourth 3-pointer with 2:34 to push the lead back to 48-38, and the Bulls finished off their second consecutive NCAA win.