The USF Bulls let another halftime lead slip away, coming up short in overtime to the Connecticut Huskies 69-64 on Sunday afternoon at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion.
The loss continues a woeful and frustrating season for the Bulls (10-11, 1-8), who finished a two game road swing on Sunday. USF has lost four-in-a-row and are now last in the Big East with just one conference victory.
The win is the third in a row for the Huskies (15-5, 5-3) and first year head coach Kevin Ollie. Connecticut's victory will keep the Huskies near the top of the Big East conference.
Shabazz Napier led all scorers with 24 points, including two 3-pointers to open up overtime and give UConn a cushion for the rest of the extra time.
Toarlyn Fitzpatrick led the Bulls with a double-double, scoring 22 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
USF took a 27-15 lead into halftime. The 15 points were the fewest scored by UConn in a half this season.
A different Huskie team took the court in the second half, beginning the frame on a 15-2 scamper. The Bulls were able to keep it close throughout, pulling ahead late 50-49 with just over a minute to play in regulation.
With 40 seconds left in the second half and a one-point USF lead, Jawanza Poland committed a foul at half court that sent Napier to the charity stripe. Napier nailed both free throws and gave the Huskies a one-point lead. An Anthony Collins's lay-up tied the game at 52 with 11.7 on the clock. Napier missed a three at the end of regulation, sending the game to overtime.
USF won the rebounding battle, 38-36. It's the first time this season where the Bulls have out-rebounded an opponent and lost. The defense was stellar once again today, as USF held another Big East opponent under their scoring average.
The Bulls will try to snap their losing streak on Wednesday, February 6th as they host Marquette at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa. Tipoff is set for 7:00 PM.