Saturday, March 17, 2012
Rapid Reax: South Florida 58, Temple 44
By Chris Low
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Breaking down No. 12 seed South Florida’s 58-44 victory over No. 5 seed Temple on Friday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament Midwest Regional at Bridgestone Arena:
Overview: Nobody uglies up a game better than South Florida, and the Bulls did it again Friday after smothering California on Wednesday night in their first-round game. South Florida set a Big East record this season by allowing just 56.8 points per game. Temple was fortunate to get to 40 after being beaten, battered and bruised by a South Florida defense that is relentless. There's no such thing as a good look against the Bulls, especially anywhere near the goal.
Amazingly, the Bulls were able to win despite making just three of 27 shots from the field (11.1 percent) in the first half. Of course, the Owls got off only 13 shots in the first half and couldn't take advantage of South Florida's cold shooting.
South Florida, which trailed 19-15 at the half, opened the second half with an 11-2 run. A 3-point spree fueled by back-to-back treys from Toarlyn Fitzpatrick gave the Bulls a 14-point lead, and they’re simply too good defensively to lose that kind of lead.
Turning point: It looked like Temple might be on the verge of a comeback after trailing by as many as 14 points with 10:34 to play. The Owls pulled within 41-38 on Ramone Moore’s 3-pointer, and the momentum was shifting in their direction. On the next possession, South Florida’s Victor Rudd Jr. found himself out top with the shot clock winding down and fired up a 3-pointer that banked in off the glass with 5:11 remaining.
Key player: Rudd scored 17 points and was 4-of-6 from 3-point range. He had 13 of his points in the second half and made all three of his treys after the break.
Key stat: With both Ohio and South Florida winning Friday, that means either a No. 12 or a No. 13 seed will advance to the Sweet 16 from the Midwest Regional.
Miscellaneous: South Florida now has evened its all-time NCAA tournament record at 2-2 after coming into this one 0-2. ... The Bulls were 6-of-8 from 3-point land in the second half. ... In their two tournament games this year, the Bulls have allowed a total of 98 points. They held Cal to 54 on Wednesday in Dayton. ... The Owls (24-8) now have lost in their opening game of the NCAA tournament in four of their past five appearances.
What’s next: South Florida (22-13) advances to the third round of the NCAA tournament and will take on No. 13 seed Ohio on Sunday. The Bobcats defeated Michigan in the earlier game Friday night.