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Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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USF rallies from 17-point deficit, tops George Mason 68-66

FAIRFAX, Va. — Corey Allen, Jr. hit a floater with two seconds remaining as South Florida came back from a 17-point second-half deficit to beat George Mason, 68-66, Wednesday night.

Allen finished with 19 points, Victor Rudd had 15 and Chris Perry added 14 for the Bulls (5-2), which had a 23-1 run in the second half and snapped a two-game losing streak. The loss dropped the Patriots to 5-3.

Allen’s basket capped a half in which he made 5-of-7 field goals and all four of his foul shots while scoring 14 of his 19 points. For Bulls coach Stan Heath, there was no question who was getting the ball for the final shot.

“We were going to Allen,” Heath said. “We felt as the game went on, he was the matchup that was the hardest for them to guard, especially in the middle of the floor. So we thought even if they switched . we felt he could get in the lane, he could score, he could get fouled.”

George Mason opened the second half with a 19 -7 run and held a 53-36 advantage after a layup by Marko Gujanicic with 12:19 remaining. But the Bulls responded with their run, running off 18 straight points and using the 23-1 run to take a 59-54 lead with 4:57 to play.

Bryon Allen’s 3-pointer with 4:33 remaining, which ended the Bulls’ run, was the Patriots’ lone field goal during an 11-minute stretch.

A key play during South Florida’s run occurred when the Bulls’ Anthony Collins was tripped up from behind by Anali Okoloji near the foul line, and Okoloji appeared to step on Collins as his momentum took him down the court. A technical foul was called on Okoloji, and Collins proceeded to make both ends of the 1-and-1, then both technical fouls shots before finding Javontae Hawkins for an alley oop dunk.

The six-point possession occurred with just under nine minutes to play, and cut the Patriots’ advantage to 53-47.

It also seemed to swing the game’s momentum.

“I thought we played very well until that play happened,” George Mason coach Paul Hewitt said. “That’s a big, big play. His contention was he was shoved in the back and he lost his balance, and his foot did make contact. He said in no way was his intention to kick or step on.

“I think you have to officiate intently, especially if he got shoved in the back like he said he did. That’s a huge play, and you’d better be sure about that, because it changes the whole game.”

Sherrod Wright paced George Mason with 22 points.

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