By Brett Shweky/Sports Director
Behind the efforts of Laquincy Rideau, the South Florida Bulls held off a potential FIU comeback Tuesday, Dec. 18 at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center to defeat the Panthers 82-73.
Rideau scored a team-high 28 points while also nailing a career-best four 3-pointers. The junior guard also brought in seven rebounds and distributed nine assists.
“He was a warrior for those guys. Especially in the first half, he had 20 first-half points,” said FIU head coach Jeremy Ballard. “Whenever you give a good and tough player like that comfort then they’re able to make some of those plays.”
With the win, the Bulls (8-2) secure their fourth-straight victory, while the Panthers (8-3) drop their first home game of the 2018-2019 campaign.
USF boasted a 23-point lead during the second half. However, their lead was cut to as low as seven with the Panthers’ defense switching to a zone full-court press which helped force 17 second-half turnovers.
Osasumwen Osaghae scored six points during the Panthers’ 13-0 second-half run to help bring the team within 10. Moments later, Devon Andrews made a layup to shave the Bulls’ lead to 67-60.
“It speaks to their character,” said Ballard on the team’s resilience. “We’ve spoken from day one about being a team that’s going to hang our hat on our ability to respond.”
The Panthers’ comeback efforts failed to bring the game within striking distance as the Bulls ended the game on 15-13 run.
Trejon Jacob and Osaghae scored a team-high 13 points each for FIU.
Next, for the Panthers, the team will host the Florida Memorial Lions on Thursday, Dec. 20 at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center. Tip-off for the game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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