TAMPA, Fla. — Anthony Collins had 17 points and 10 assists to lead South Florida past Georgia 64-53 on Friday night
The Bulls’ sophomore point guard returned to the lineup after sitting out Monday night’s 63-54 win at Stetson to rest a lingering calf injury.
“When he’s in the game, it changes … the way he controls games,” South Florida guard Shaun Noriega said. “He’s a game changer.”
Shaun Noriega scored 15 points and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick added 13 for South Florida (5-2).
Georgia (2-5) got 19 points from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The sophomore guard has been the Bulldogs’ leading scorer in all seven games this season.
“I don’t think we sustained our defense,”
Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “They started to break down our defense a little bit there late, and we ended up giving up a percentage that you just can’t win with. You just can’t allow a
team to shoot 47 percent from the field and win.”
Collins made a jumper as part of a 3-point play to put the Bulls up 53-50 with 3:33 left. Jawanza Poland connected on a free throw and Victor Rudd hit a 3-pointer off a Collins’ assist to make it 57-50 with just under two minutes to play.
“I think I’ll be fine,” said Collins of his injury.
Rudd finished with 12 points and eight rebounds.
South Florida went ahead 50-46 with 7 1/2 minutes left when Noriega had a steal and layup.
“We just couldn’t get the stops that we needed to get in the second half,” Fox said.
Georgia, which trailed by five at intermission, grabbed a 40-39 lead midway through the second half on a fastbreak dunk by Caldwell-Pope.
Fitzpatrick scored seven points to help South Florida take a 27-22 lead at halftime.
Collins hit a 3-pointer to give the Bulls a 22-17 lead with 3 1/2 minutes remaining in the first half. Noriega had a long-range jumper just before the buzzer.
“I thought the way we closed in different parts of the game … closed the first half and the last, maybe, eight minutes of the second half was really good,” South Florida coach Stan Heath said. “That was the difference in the game.”