South Florida introduced the NCAA men’s tournament to the Big East’s nastiest defense Wednesday night, putting more than just a chill into a California team that had never seen anything like it. The Bulls allowed only 13 points in the first half and brushed their way to a 65-54 victory at Dayton, Ohio.
South Florida (21-13) plays No. 5 seed Temple in Nashville on Friday, a matchup of teams known for gritty defense.
Few defenses have been better than this one for the first 20 minutes on the NCAA stage.
California (24-10) didn’t score over the last 8:55 of the first half, missing 10 shots and turning it over twice while South Florida pulled ahead 36-13.
Freshman point guard Anthony Collins, a thin-built player with a youthful face that reminds coach Stan Heath of a 12-year-old kid, played like a star in his first NCAA tournament game, scoring 12 points. Victor Rudd had 15 points.
Vermont 71, Lamar 59: Four McGlynn came off the bench to score 18 points and the Catamounts (24-11) grabbed an early lead and hung on to beat the Cardinals (23-12) in a first-round game at Dayton, Ohio.
Matt Glass added 11 points, Sandro Carissimo 10 and Brian Voelkel had 12 rebounds to help the Catamounts earn a spot against top-seeded North Carolina on Friday in Greensboro, N.C.
The Catamounts shot 50 percent from the field, blending an inside presence with McGlynn’s touch from the perimeter.
Devon Lamb and Mike James each had 16 points for Lamar, which had won six in a row since first-year coach Pat Knight ripped his seniors after a loss in late February.
Bucknell 65, Arizona 54: Mike Muscala had 20 points and nine rebounds to lead the Bison (25-9) over the Wildcats (23-12) in the opening round of the NIT at Tucson, Ariz.
Joe Willman had 15 points and Bryson Johnson added 14 for Bucknell, which dominated from the opening tip.
Bucknell held Arizona in check, leading by as many as 13 in the first half.
The Wildcats briefly took at two-point lead in the second half, but Bucknell held Arizona to 35 percent shooting for the game.
Solomon Hill led the Wildcats with 17 points and nine rebounds, and senior Jesse Perry added 14 points.
Arizona fell to 0-4 in the NIT.
Oregon State 80, Western Illinois 59: Jared Cunningham had 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists and the Beavers (20-14) pulled away from the Leathernecks (18-15) in the second half for a College Basketball Invitational opening-round win at Corvallis, Ore.
Ahmad Starks added 16 points and Devon Collier 12 for the Beavers, who will host TCU on Monday in the round of 16.