TAMPA, Fla. — The University of South Florida men’s basketball team still feeling the effect of the after glow of the come back victory over George Mason University, Wednesday night in Fairfax, Virginia – it still feels so good, like a warm and a soft breezy night in the Bahamas.
The magic still lingered and surrounded the Bulls, as they fought there way to a 66-64, victory over the University of Alabama, Saturday night in front of 4,255 happy and noisy Bulls basketball fans inside the magical Sun Dome.
University of South Florida took control of the game by working hard under the basket on both sides of the court. The Bulls out rebounded the Crimson Tide 39-31, including 25 defensive rebounds of missed Alabama’s shots.
“The last two games, our rebounding has been a key,” University of South Florida basketball coach Stan Heath said about his teams hard work rebounding the ball. “A stat that has really changed we didn’t get beat on the boards these last two games. We won that area and that was a big plus tonight’s game.”
“I though that South Florida did a great job tonight. Obviously in their building, we knew that this would be our first road game and trying to come in here and get a win would be difficult,” University of Alabama basketball coach Anthony Grant said. “Their guys did a really good job at being aggressive, an outstanding defensive team they took us out a lot of the things that we wanted to do from an offense stand point.”
The Bulls defense pushed the Tide out to the perimeter most of the night and holding the University of Alabama to 39 percent from the floor.
“Their size and physicality really made a difference in the game,” Grant said. “You look at the ability to rebound the second shots and their ability to get to the free throw line, we knew those would be issues coming into the game and that we would have to deal with, unfortunately we we’re able to deal with it well enough tonight.”
With just 10 seconds left in the game, senior guard for the Bulls, Anthony Collins missed his second free throw and Alabama’s Shannon Hale came down with the rebound. He quickly got the ball down the floor to Levi Randolph.
Randolph driving to the basket and he attempted a lay up only to have freshman center John Egbunu block the shot and the swatted ball looked like it was headed for out of bounds.
Hale recovered the ball before it went out, he quickly turned and took a shot only to have it bounce off of the rim but the ball came right back to him.
Hale with one more shot at the bucket but this time he took the shot behind the three-point arch but once again the ball hit the side of the rim and the clock expired.
University of Alabama point guard Retin Obasohan led all scores in the game with 20 points and the Crimson Tide’s leading scorer Trevor Releford finished the game with 17 points.
Freshman forward for the Bulls, Chris Perry play against the Crimson Tide made a huge statement to the rest of the American Athletic Conference, to his coach and to his team mates.
Perry helped his team mates under the basket by being tough when he needed to be and he was able to be in good position for rebounds on the defensive side of the court but he saved the Bulls offense with some timely offensive rebounds.
“I was nervous when they shot the second three, I was about to blackout,” Perry said about the final 10 seconds of the game.
Perry scored 14 points and he pulled in 14 rebounds for the Bulls recording his second double-double game of the season. Victor Rudd led USF with 15 points and he finished the game with seven rebounds.
“Chris Perry was terrific tonight,” Heath said about Perry’s performance. “I thought that his inside play, his rebounding just gave us something that we really needed.”
Grant said that Perry made it tough on his team but he also said Bulls’ point guard Anthony Collins played really well for the Bulls. Collins only scored seven points but he finished the game with nine assist.
“I thought that the freshman (Chris) Perry was outstanding tonight,” Grant said. “He was a load and we had a difficult time containing him. You look at his ability to come in as a freshman and get a double-double and dominate the game that he did, it is really impressive.”
“The other guy that did a great job, was (Anthony) Collins,” Grant said about the senior floor leader for the Bulls. “He controlled the game. He did not score a lot of points but he really ran his team and put guys in position to have success.”
“It feels good,” Collins said about the win. “We lost our last two home games and we should never lose on our home floor. We take pride in it and we got one against a good team-Alabama.”
There was magic in the air inside the Sun Dome, just like Broadway night and the quality victory against the University of Alabama make for a nice drive home under the moon and stars for Heath.
The Bulls will take some time off before the next game Tuesday night Dec. 17, against Florida Gulf Coast University at the Sun Dome starting at 7 p.m.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.