TAMPA, Fla. -- Hugh Robertson and Victor Rudd Jr. scored 14 points each as South Florida beat Villanova 65-51 on Wednesday night.
South Florida (16-10, 9-4 Big East) matched its highest victory total in conference play. The Bulls had a conference record of 9-9 during the 2009-10 season, and had just three Big East wins and 10 victories overall last season.South Florida also got 10 points apiece from Anthony Collins and Jawanza Poland.Maurice Sutton had 10 points for Villanova (11-14, 4-9). The Wildcats played without leading scorer Maalik Wayns (averaging 17.8 points a game) due to a sprained left knee.Villanova, which had seven days off since beating Providence 74-72 on Feb. 7, started a stretch of three games in six days.Robertson's slam on a fastbreak and his two free throws during a 10-2 run helped put South Florida ahead 33-25 7 minutes into the second half.Collins hit four free throws, with two coming after a technical was called on the Villanova bench, that extended the South Florida advantage to 37-27 with 12 minutes left.The Bulls took a 44-31 lead on Poland's long-range jumper, and a 3-pointer from Rudd Jr. made it 59-39 late in the second half.Dominic Cheek had five points, including a 3-pointer, as Villanova took an early 10-5 lead. After South Florida tied it at 20-all on Poland's layup, neither team scored again over the final four minutes of the first half.Villanova freshman forward JayVaughn Pinkston, coming off a 28-point, 14-rebound performance against Providence, had just eight points. He made 1 of 13 shots.South Florida also won the other meeting between the teams this season, 74-57 at Villanova on Jan. 5.