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College basketball

Bulls scrap one out vs.Cornhuskers

USF 65, NEBRASKA 60: Guard Reggie Kohn and center Will McDonald each score 14 to improve to 4-0.

By BRUCE LOWITT, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 6, 2002


TAMPA -- South Florida coach Seth Greenberg could only shake his head Thursday night.

"When Reggie shoots the ball, you think it's going in," he said, "but the one he made, that was sick."

Guard Reggie Kohn's 3-pointer from nearly 30 feet with 8:55 remaining, followed by center Will McDonald's more conventional 3-pointer 50 seconds later broke a tie at 48 and led to a 65-60 win against Nebraska before an announced 5,385 at the Sun Dome.

"I have to admit," Greenberg said, "that I was sitting there, going, "The basketball gods are smiling on me tonight.' "

Three-pointers in the final 1:35 of the first half by forward Jimmy Baxter and guard Marlyn Bryant helped USF build an eight-point halftime lead -- one it didn't protect, but survived.

"Basketball is a game of runs," Greenberg said after the Bulls moved to 4-0 for the sixth time in their 32 seasons. "It's not a game of perfect. You're going to make mistakes, miss shots. A lot of things are going to happen. The other team's going to have a run. The key is to not make it an extended run and, obviously, to answer the run.

"Whether it was (Kohn's) shot from the 914 area code or (McDonald's) on a designed play, we found a way to stop their runs."

"I've gotten some good looks this year, tonight and I guess all four games, just all open shots," said Kohn, who hit 4 of 8 3-pointers. He and McDonald had 14 points apiece, Baxter and forward Terrence Leather 13 each.

With 1:25 left and the Bulls leading 61-55 on the last of Kohn's 3s, fans began chanting "We want the Gators!" and "Bring on UF!"

USF has won 20 of its past 22 non Conference USA home games. The two losses: last season to Florida and Florida State. The Bulls visit the Gators on Sunday.

"Obviously we've got a score to settle with them," Leather said. "They came in to our house last year and beat us. We're looking forward to going up there, playing hard, having fun and hopefully coming back with a win.'

Guard Andrew Drevo led the Cornhuskers with 15 points, hitting 3 of 8 3-pointers, including the one that tied it at 48 with 9:23 to play.

"That's probably the farthest one so far," Kohn said of his tiebreaker. It came on "a broken-down play," he said. "We had eight seconds (to shoot) so we took it out. My game's not to penetrate." And with Nebraska back from the 3-point line, "I thought the best thing was to shoot it, hopefully get a rebound."

Nebraska outrebounded the Bulls 47-38, Bryant leading USF with 10. But it didn't reflect the Cornhuskers' inside dominance of offensive rebounding, getting six before Bryant got the Bulls' first 8:03 into the game.

It didn't hurt that much, though. Nebraska missed its first five shots off offensive rebounds.

It helped USF take a 10-6 lead, compliments of Kohn's first 3-pointer. The lead quickly became a 14-10 deficit before the Bulls, with McDonald hitting a jumper and Kohn his second 3, outscored Nebraska 21-9 for a 31-23 halftime lead.

The Cornhuskers hit 38.7 percent of their shots; the Bulls have held their four opponents to worse than 40 percent from the floor and fewer than 65 points.

"Look," Greenberg said, "we're going to win ugly. ... We're just kind of a grind-it-out, dirtbag team that's going to be competitive and scrap and try to find ways to win. I don't think we're going to be one of those real aesthetically attractive teams. And quite honestly I'm not exactly Robert Redford, so I kind of like it."

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