Collins leads USF to Roman CBI victory
April 1, 2019
VIDEO RECAP BELOW
TAMPA, Fla. – David Collins’ (pictured) running one-hander in the paint with 1.6 seconds remaining gave South Florida a 63-61 win over DePaul in the opener of the best-of-three Roman College Basketball Invitational in Tampa.
USF led for the first 33:35 of the game before a Max Strus putback tied the game at 51-51 with 6:25 to play. DePaul’s first lead came shortly thereafter when Strus’s 3-pointer with 4:32 to go put the Blue Demons ahead, 54-53.
At that point, it became a duel at the foul line. Laquincy Rideau hit a pair of free throws to give USF a 55-54 lead with 3:35 remaining. Femi Olujobi replied with a pair of his own from the stripe to take the lead away at 56-55 with 2:02 left. Rideau’s open 3-pointer with 1:54 remaining made it 58-56 while Alexis Yetna hit two free throws to put the Bulls up 60-56 with 31 seconds to play.
Eli Cain cut the lead to two by making two free throws seven seconds later. It was then Collins’ turn but he missed the second of his two free throws to give the Blue Demons life with 18 seconds to go, 61-58.
Cain took advantage, connecting on a 3-pointer with 10.2 second left to tie the contest at 61-61. That’s when Collins took over. After a timeout, Collins corralled the inbounds pass, drove the lane and from about 10 feet out hit a running one-hander with 1.6 seconds left to give USF a 63-61 win.
Collins ended with a game-best 23 points and six assists. Rideau tallied 15 points, and Yetna had 10 points and eight rebounds.
DePaul was paced by Cain and his 19 points. Strus, who entered the game averaging 31.7 ppg in the CBI, ended with 17 points after scoring just four in the first half. Olujobi had 11 points.
Ironically, foul shooting helped win the game for the Bulls, who were just 9-of-17 from the line, but 5-of-six in the final 3:35. DePaul was 15-of-21 from the stripe.
The Roman CBI Finals best-of-three series heads to Chicago for Game 2 on Wednesday, April 3 and Friday, April 5 (if necessary). DePaul will head home hoping history repeats itself. The last three Roman CBI champions have lost the first game on the road and returned home to win the next two with North Texas (2018), Wyoming (2017), and Nevada (2016) each accomplishing that feat. The last time a champion won the first game at home and then the next game on the road was in 2015 when Loyola Chicago accomplished a sweep.
The Finals will air on ESPNU with Roy Philpott and Tim McCormick calling the action from Chicago.
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About the Gazelle Group
The College Basketball Invitational is produced by the Gazelle Group of Princeton, N.J. The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation, and sponsorship consulting. Gazelle produces numerous nationally-recognized events, such as the Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project, Legends Classic presented by Old Trapper, the Sunshine Slam, and the Gotham Classic. For more information on the Gazelle Group, please visit gazellegroup.com
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