South Florida hangs on for 66-64 win over Alabama
TAMPA, Fla. (AP)
''Chris Perry was terrific tonight,'' Bulls coach Stan Heath said. ''His inside play, his rebounding just gave us something that we really needed.''
Perry, a freshman, was beaming afterward.
''I loved the environment. Whenever you score, the crowd goes wild. That's pretty much what we all do it for,'' he said. ''And we do it to get dubs. I love it so far.''
Victor Rudd led South Florida (6-2) with 15 points and added seven rebounds for the Bulls, who capitalized on their 40-31 advantage on the glass.
Retin Obasohan paced Alabama (4-4) with 20 points and Trevor Releford added 17 before fouling out with 35 seconds to go. Teammates Levi Randolph and Nick Jacobs finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Anthony Collins sank 5 of 6 free-throw attempts down the stretch for South Florida, which survived three desperation shots at the other end as time ran out.
''I thought their guys did a really good job of being aggressive,'' Crimson Tide coach Anthony Grant said. ''Obviously, their size and physicality really made a difference in the game.''
South Florida led 65-61 with less than a minute remaining, but freshman Shannon Hale came off the bench connected from long range to pull Alabama within a point. Hale failed to convert his opportunity at a game-winning shot just before the final buzzer.
Alabama broke out to a 9-2 advantage as South Florida missed 9 of its first 10 shots. The Bulls took the lead with an 11-2 run and led 29-25 at the break.
The Tide was outscored in the paint (36-32) for the second time this season, both losses.