USF men, women basketball teams win late

by Gary Shelton on November 11, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Gregory won his opener when his team came from behind./CARMEN MANDATO

Gregory won his opener when his team came from behind./CARMEN MANDATO

Saturday, 2 a.m.

The haves or the have-nots of USF basketball followed the same path to victory Friday night. They both took over a game in the final 75 seconds to pull the win out.

The haves, or the USF women, beat a name opponent to start a quest for yet another 20-win season when they beat LSU 61-55. USF, ranked 23rd in the polls, has won 20 games for five straight seasons (and eight overall.)

It was an impressive opening game for the Bulls. USF's Maria Jesperson had 20 points and Kitija Laksa had 16 to lead the victory.

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Fermandez has eight 20-win seasons./CARMEN MANDATO

Fermandez has eight 20-win seasons./CARMEN MANDATO

USF led by only 55-53 with 1:13 to play. But LSU missed its last three shots, and FSU hit four free throws to close out the game.

Jigggets took over in the last two minutes./CARMEN MANDATO

Jiggets took over in the last two minutes./CARMEN MANDATO

“You want to play the good teams,” said Jesperson. “Of course, there are always nerves in the first game, it doesn’t matter who you are playing. But since this one was so important, we didn’t have a chance to think about our nerves. I think it means a lot that we are so experienced. We’ve been in these situations before and we know what

needs to be done in order to win those games. This is a game we probably could have lost last year because we were so inexperienced.”

Laksa scored 16 for USF women./CARMEN MANDATO

Laksa scored 16 for USF women./CARMEN MANDATO

The Have-Nots, on the other hand, are the USF men's basketball team. And, yes, they may be headed for their sixth straight losing season.

For one night, however, USF took a 60-59 win over Florida International. The Bulls trailed 59-56 with 1:20 to play, but Stephan Jiggets scored the Bulls' final four points to help the USF pull out the game.

Tulia Da Silva scored 20 points to lead the Bulls and had a steal in the final seconds.

Da Silva scored 20 points to lead USF./CARMEN MANDATO

Da Silva scored 20 points to lead USF./CARMEN MANDATO

The win was Brian Gregory's first as new coach of the Bulls.
He prefered to talk, however, about Da Silva.

“Over the last two weeks, his daily habits have just gotten better and better and better,” Gregory said. “It's not rocket science. If you practice harder and practice better on a daily basis, you have a better chance of playing well and that's exactly what he's doing."

The USF women play against Houston Baptist Sunday at 2 p.m. USF's men play Morgan State on Monday night.

Jespersen led USF with 20 points./CARMEN MANDATO

Jespersen led USF with 20 points./CARMEN MANDATO

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