The Tigers put up big leads early, but late charging Bulls fought to the last second, losing 79-77 in regulation with big performances from Memphis’ Kyvon Davenport and USF’s David Collins.
One week after the Bulls handed Memphis an embarrassing double-digit loss at Memphis, the Tigers had revenge on their minds. They took a 3-0 lead to start the game, courtesy of a three-pointer by Davenport, and kept the lead throughout the first half. It would take the Bulls more than three minutes to get on the scoreboard, an advantage that gave Memphis leads of a dozen on more than one occasion before going to the break with a nine point, 38-29 lead.
Memphis maintained their dominance throughout much of the second half of the game, as well, leading by as many as 15 points with just under nine minutes left in the game. The Bulls would turn a corner, though, going on a 17-5 scoring run to get within four with four minutes on the clock. USF made it a three point game with 21 seconds to go, but time was not on their side. They had a chance at the end, when Justin Brown was shooting free throws with one second on the clock. Missing the second shot gave them a chance to tie the game off the offensive rebound. Instead, the ball wasn’t rebounded cleanly and the clock ran out.
Davenport was the star for the winning team, hitting 10-13 for 27 points and nine rebounds. David Nickleberry scored 14, 12 of which came in the first half. Kareem Brewton Jr. was the only other Tiger to score in double digits. He finished with a dozen.
The Bulls only had two players in double digit scoring. Stephan Jiggetts scored 16, but that number was dwarfed by Collins’ career-high and record tying 30 points. Collins was 11-13 from the field and a perfect 2-2 from beyond the arc.
USF’s season ends with the loss. They finish the season 10-22.
Memphis moves on to face 4 seed Tulsa on Friday afternoon. Tipoff is at 2 PM.