Hot Shooting Second Half, Rebounding Propel South Florida Past Valpo
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Valparaiso, Ind. - South Florida shot 54 percent in the second half and came back from an 11-point deficit to defeat Valpo 64-62. Dan Oppland led the Crusaders (1-2) with 13 points, while Jimmie Miles added 10 off the bench. South Florida's Bradley Mosley led all scorers with 16 points, including 12 in the second half.

Valpo had an opportunity to tie the game at the end, but Ali Berdiel's six-foot jumper rimmed out at the buzzer. After Berdiel tied the game with two free throws with 1:21 remaining, Mosley made a driving layup at the 1:05 mark to give the Bulls (2-0) a 64-62 lead. The opportunity for a potential game-winning shot by Berdiel was made possible by Joaquim Gomes's block of Mosley's attempted layup with :19 left.

After Valpo led 35-28 at halftime, the Crusaders outscored USF 8-4 to take a 43-32 lead with 17:08 remaining. Oppland, a 6'8" sophomore, and freshman Jimmie Miles each netted three points during the run.

South Florida gradually began chipping away at the Crusaders' lead and closed the gap to one point on two separate occasions. The Bulls took their first second-half lead (50-49) with 10:25 left on a layup by Brandon Brigman. A jumper by Gomes allowed Valpo to regain the lead, but Brigman made a short jumper to take the one-point advantage (52-51) back with 9:42 remaining.

After the game was tied at 54-54 with seven minutes left, the Bulls built a five-point lead (60-55) with 3:37 remaining on baskets by Brigman and Terrence Leather. Roberto Nieves made a short jumper and converted the free throw after being fouled to pull Valpo with 60-58. Oppland and Nieves each split a pair of free throws as the Crusaders tied the game at 60-60 with just under two minutes remaining. Mosley made a layup prior to Berdiel's game-tying charity tosses.

Rebounding was a huge factor in the contest as USF outboarded the Crusaders 40-27. Leather, who scored 10 points, topped all rebounders with 10. Even more significant was the battle on the offensive glass as USF had 16 offensive rebounds to nine for Valpo. The Bulls had eight second-chance points in the second half to two for the Crusaders.

Valpo finished shooting 39 percent overall, including 29 percent (4-14) from 3-point range. Free throws kept the Crusaders close as Valpo drained 20 of 27 (74 percent) to USF's 9 of 16 (56 percent). South Florida shot 46 percent overall, including 27 percent (3-11) from beyond the arc.

Valpo will be away from game competition until Tuesday, December 2 when it hosts #19-ranked Cincinnati at 7:05 p.m.