Feb 9, 2002
TAMPA, Fla. - The University of South Florida increased its defensive intensity and forced key turnovers as the Bulls pulled away from Tulane University for a 76-65 victory on Saturday evening at the Sun Dome.
Junior Brandon Brown (Houma, La.) scored back-to-back baskets inside to bring the Green Wave within one at 60-59 with 5:39 to go. However, the Wave would commit turnovers on its next four possessions against the tenacious Bull defense. Meanwhile, South Florida tallied eight unanswered points to take a 68-59 lead with 1:46 to go.
Brown, who scored a game-high 23 points, would add another couple of buckets and Linton Johnson would add a layup , but South Florida scored eight points from the line in the final 1:27 to earn the victory.
"We got tentative at the end," Tulane head coach Shawn Finney said. "We had costly turnovers, we rushed shots. You have to be mentally tough on the road in order to win. You have to do the little things and tonight we didn't always do that."
Tulane drops to 12-10 overall and 4-7 in Conference USA play, while South Florida improves to 16-7 and 6-4.
Tulane had pulled away in the first half to lead 34-31 at the break. It opened the second half with a solid run, building the lead to seven at three different points, the final time at 44-37 with 16:26 to go.
However, USF's Altron Jackson scored nine straight points to lift the Bulls to a 55-52 lead. The Wave would not lead again.
"We were right where we wanted to be," Finney said. "The big key was we wanted to have 12-14 turnovers, but we had more and gave them some easy baskets down the stretch."
Tulane now has a six-day break, its longest break since the Holidays, before returning to action next Saturday, Feb. 16, hosting UAB at Fogelman Arena at 7 p.m.
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