Nov. 24, 2007
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Jesus Verdejo scored 20 points as South Florida beat East Carolina 81-67 on Saturday night.
All five South Florida starters scored in double figures. Orane Chin, Chris Howard and Dominique Jones contributed 17, 12 and 11 points, respectively. Kentrell Gransberry added 15 points and 10 rebounds. South Florida (3-3) won its third consecutive game after an 0-3 start, while Pirates dropped to 2-3 on the season.
Down 14 points with 8:38 remaining before halftime, the Pirates went on a 20-5 run to take a one-point lead, 34-33, as Hinnant drilled his sixth 3-pointer of the half. Verjedo answered with a 3 to put the Bulls back on top before ECU sophomore Brandon Evans drove baseline and scored to tie the game with 17 seconds left in the period.
Determined not to let his team trail at intermission, Verjedo nailed another 3 from the corner just before the halftime buzzer for a 39-36 USF halftime advantage.
The USF lead remained single digits through the first eight minutes of the second half before it reclaimed its double digit advantage.
With his team up six, Verjedo hit back-to-back 3s to push the USF lead to 12, 52-60, as the clock approached nine minutes remaining in the game. The Pirates got within eight with under four minutes to play, but were never able to overtake the Bulls.
After shooting 53.8 percent from the field in the first half, the Pirates were unable to find their stroke coming out of the locker room as they made just 39.3.
USF finished shooting 44.8 percent (26-58) from the floor, while making 22-of-34 free throws.
East Carolina returns to action Wednesday night against Winthrop. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum.