TAMPA —A couple of hours after dawn broke on the Brian Gregory era, mild bedlam broke out.
Graduate transfer Stephan Jiggetts’ jump shot just inside the free-throw line with 12 seconds to play lifted USF to a 60-59 victory Friday against Florida Atlantic, bringing a moment of delirium to a program previously in dysfunction.
The victory, before an announced Sun Dome crowd of 4,192, capped a USF doubleheader sweep. The No. 23 Bulls women topped LSU 61-55.
"We’ve got a long way to go, there’s no doubt about that," Gregory said. "But hopefully you saw a little bit of the grit that our guys try to play with, especially on the defensive end."
A deflection by Bulls sophomore Tulio Da Silva with 27 seconds to play went out of bounds off an FAU player, leading to Jiggetts’ game-winner.
Da Silva had 20 points and eight rebounds. The Bulls were hurt badly on the offensive glass (15-5) and had one second-chance point to the Owls’ 17, but they held FAU to 35.6 percent (21-of-59) from the floor.
The women’s victory was far more priceless than proficient; not terribly pleasing to the eye, but sparkling for the RPI.
They sometimes struggled to buy a basket, but the Bulls women atoned with defense, rebounding and free throws.
"I didn’t think we could shoot that poorly," said coach Jose Fernandez, whose team finished 19-of-63 (30.2 percent) from the floor. "To shoot 30 percent from the floor and win means we did a pretty good job defensively."
The Bulls held LSU without a field goal the last 2:54 but led by only 58-55 before senior forward Maria Jespersen drove the lane for a layup with 33 seconds to go.
LSU took three shots in the last 2:54.
Jespersen (20 points) and junior Kitija Laksa (16) each finished one rebound shy of a double double. USF finished 17-of-22 from the free-throw line,.
MEN’s GAME HIGHLIGHTS: Guard Hamidou Diallo led an 18-0 run and scored 18 as No. 5 Kentucky rallied past visiting Utah Valley 73-63. Freshman Kevin Knox, a former Tampa Catholic standout, scored 12, his 3-pointer early in the second half starting a comeback from a 37-25 deficit. … Marvin Bagley had 25 points and 10 rebounds in his college debut, and No. 1 Duke routed visiting Elon 97-68.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.