Dominique Jones scored 37 points, and South Florida extended its school-best Big East winning streak to three straight games with a 70-61 upset victory against the No. 17 Pitt men's basketball team Sunday.
Jones made 10 of 20 shots from the field and 14 of 17 free throws for USF (14-7, 4-5), which nearly squandered a 14-point lead down the stretch. But the Bulls held on by making 11 of 14 free throws in the final three minutes.
Gilbert Brown scored a career-high 25 for Pittsburgh (16-5, 6-3), which has dropped three of four Big East games after starting 5-0 in the Conference and working its way into a No. 9 ranking. The Panthers hurt themselves by missing five free throws after pulling within 54-50 with 5:33 remaining.
It also didn't help Pitt that senior guard Jermaine Dixon (ankle) was held out to give him a few days off before practicing for West Virginia Wednesday in Morgantown, W.Va. Dixon is the Panthers' best defender and most assuredly would have been on Jones.
South Florida has won four of five following an 0-4 start in the Conference. The Bulls improved to 10-82 against ranked teams, including 4-20 since leaving Conference USA for the Big East.
Pitt rebounded from its first two-game losing streak in nearly two years by beating St. John's Thursday night at the Petersen Events Center. The Panthers missed 11 of their first 15 shots in this one and trailed 22-11 before wiping out the early deficit with an 11-0 run led by Brown.
The 6-foot-6 redshirt junior had eight points in the spurt and finished the opening half with a dunk and jumper that helped the Panthers withstand another USF surge that carried the Bulls to a 31-26 lead at the break.
Jones averaged 37 points in leading South Florida to overtime wins against Providence and Seton Hall for the Bulls' first two-game Conference winning streak since entering the Big East four seasons ago.
The Big East's third-leading scorer behind Notre Dame's Luke Harangody and Seton Hall's Jeremy Hazell, Jones had 13 points on 4 for 11 shooting the first half. He got some timely support from Chris Howard and Mike Mercer to regroup after Pitt's big first-half run.
Jones made a 3-pointer and a turnaround jumper in the lane during the burst that enabled USF to open a 51-37 lead midway through the second half. Pitt made up most of the deficit with a 12-2 spurt but never got closer than four down the stretch.
Junior Bradley Wanamaker scored 14 for the Panthers, while sophomore guard Ashton Gibbs added 11. Howard joined Jones in double figures for USF with 12. Redshirt freshman point guard Travon Woodall started for Dixon.
South Florida 70, Pitt 61
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