South Florida introduced the NCAA 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.
South Florida (21-13) plays No. 5 seed Temple in Nashville on Friday, a matchup of teams known for gritty defense. Few 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.