The USF Bulls (24-14) set a new record for wins in a regular season en route to a 77-65 win over DePaul (19-17) in Game 3 of the College Basketball Invitational Final.
USF, who was picked to finish last in the preseason American Athletic Conference preseason poll, finished with a school record best 24 wins a season after having just ten wins a season ago - the greatest turnaround in college basketball in the 2018-2019 season. The Bulls never allowed DePaul to lead in this game, and led 37-20 with 6:15 to go in the first half. DePaul wouldn't go quietly, however, as they pulled within 37-34 thanks to a 14-0 run - however, LaQuincy Rideau scored a layup at the halftime buzzer to give the Bulls momentum.
Again early in the second half, DePaul pulled within one point, before USF began to take control and built a ten point lead midway through the second half. An 8-0 run for the Bulls would give USF a 14 point lead with less than five minutes to go, and for good measure the Bulls finished the game on a 6-2 run to claim the postseason tournament.
David Collins led the way with a game-high 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists. The sophomore was named the Tournament MVP after averaging 18.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.5 steals, and 3.2 steals per game in USF's six CBI outings, which included five victories. Justin Brown added 12 points and LaQuincy Rideau added 10 points, five rebounds, and five assists for the Bulls. All told everyone who got into the game for USF scored in a well-balanced attack that saw USF shoot 48% from the field and making 10 three-point shots.
Devin Gage led the way for DePaul, scoring nineteen points and grabbing eight rebounds. Max Strus added 16 points and Femi Olujobi had a double-double with fourteen poitns and ten rebounds for the Blue Demons. DePaul shot 32% from the field, and even though they got a lot of looks from the free throw line (38 shots total), they only made 25 of them as USF secured a 12 point win.
The Bulls wrap up a tremendous turnaround season with fourteen more wins than a season ago, and now look to build on this postseason run in the 2019-2020 season It marks the second postseason tournament the Bulls have ever won (the first being the 1990 Sun Belt Tournament), and look to keep building as they enter head coach Brian Gregory's third season with the school next year. For the absolute best USF Bulls coverage keep it locked to 95.3 WDAE & AM 620, as well as 953wdae.com for the latest.