South Florida beats Florida A&M 73-70

BOB BELLONE (Associated Press)
The Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Stan Heath has been enjoying his team's success of late. The South Florida coach only wishes he didn't always have to wait for the final buzzer to do so.

Corey Allen Jr. scored a career-high 22 points and Victor Rudd had 19 points and 10 rebounds, leading the Bulls to a 73-70 victory over Florida A&M on Thursday night in the second round of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.

Allen also had six rebounds, three assists and two steals for South Florida (8-2), which has won four games in a row by an average of two points.

''I wish I could explain my team, but I can't,'' Heath said. ''Florida A&M out-hustled us, outworked us, out-scrapped us. It hurts me in my heart to say that. We slipped out with the win.''

Jamie Adams led Florida A&M (2-9) with 16 points and five assists. Four other Rattlers chipped in at least eight points.

Allen connected with a 3-pointer from the right corner with 37 seconds remaining to put USF ahead 72-70.

FAMU guard Reggie Lewis was driving from the left side for a tying layup with less than 5 seconds on the clock, when he was whistled for an offensive foul. Anthony Collins hit the first of two free throws, then fouled Adams as he threw up a desperation shot from his own end with 0.8 seconds left.

''There's no such thing as a moral victory. No such thing,'' Rattlers coach Clemon Johnson said. ''We've been playing hard all year. We've just got to find someone to finish the game for us.''

Florida A&M raced to an 8-1 lead while USF missed eight of its first nine shots. The Rattlers held a 21-6 advantage from beyond the arc at the break, but their aggressive defense was costly.

By the time A&M attempted its first free throw with a minute to go in the half, South Florida had converted 13 of 20 attempts at the opposite end. The teams entered the break tied at 37.

''We just weren't focused at the beginning of the game like we should have been,'' Allen said. ''We got the scouting report. We knew what they were going to do.''

Johnson was pleased overall with the officiating, but he was obviously bewildered by the critical call against Lewis.

''I never question officials. They're always right, if you want to believe that,'' he said. ''I'm going to leave that alone. I don't want to get fined.''

The tournament moves from campus sites to Las Vegas on Sunday. Florida A&M and Florida Gulf Coast will meet before South Florida takes on Mississippi State. The eight-team invitational field also includes Radford, Sacred Heart, Santa Clara and host UNLV.

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