PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Behind 23 points from Victor Rudd, South Florida won its first game as a member of the American Athletic Conference with an 82-75 victory over Temple on Thursday.
After Temple’s Anthony Lee missed two free throws with his team trailing by three and 1:01 to play, Rudd hit a step-back jumper with 29 seconds left to give the Bulls (10-6, 1-2 American) a cushion down the stretch.
Rudd tied Lee for the game-high in scoring and had 10 boards to finish with a double-double.
Temple (5-8, 0-3) led by as much as 10 on three separate occasions — including twice in the second half — but could not pull away from USF. The Bulls took their first lead of the second half, 70-69, with six minutes to play after back-to-back threes from Musa Abdul-Aleem during a 16-3 run and didn’t trail again, although the Owls did at one point narrow the margin to only one.
The difference in the game, outside of Temple’s ongoing injury issues, was USF dominating down low — winning the rebound battle, 40-30, and outscoring Temple in the paint, 50-30.
Temple opened up a 10-point lead in the first half before USF rallied with an 11-1 run. The two teams entered the half knotted, 34-34. Rudd led all scorers at the break with 12 points, while Lee (11), Dalton Pepper (11), and Quenton DeCosey (10) accounted for all but one Temple basket.
USF dominated Temple inside, winning the points in the paint battle, 24-12, in the opening 20 minutes.
Temple suffered its latest injury blow when Will Cummings collided with USF’s John Egbunu on a pick 40 seconds into the game. Egbunu was called for the foul and Cummings stayed on the floor before heading to the locker room with 3:40 to play in the first.
Cummings was announced to have concussion-like symptoms and did not return. Head coach Fran Dunphy’s team entered the season with nine players on scholarship and one walk-on, but sophomore forward Dan Dingle had surgery to repair a torn meniscus on Monday and freshman Mark Williams did not play because of a sprained ankle. Once Cummings left, Temple was down to seven available players.
Prior to the game, Temple confirmed the transfer of former Clemson guard and Philly native Devin Coleman. Coleman played 10 games for Clemson this season after missing the 2012-13 season with a torn Achilles tendon. Coleman will have a year and a half of eligibility remaining and will be available to play for Temple after the Fall 2014 semester.
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