The ninth-seeded University of South Florida Bulls upset East Carolina Panthers 71-66 in the opening game of the American Athletic Conference Championship at the Amway Center on Thursday afternoon.
Angel Nunez scored19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Bulls advance to the quarter-finals.
Chris Perry added 18 points, while Jahmal McMurray finished with 19 points and four rebounds for South Florida (8-25).
B.J Tyson had 19 to top the Pirates (12-20) in their fourth straight loss, while Michael Zangari finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds to eliminate the from the tournament.
This was the first tournament win for the Bulls who were 0-2 in The American Athletic Conference Championship.
The two teams split victories in their meetings during the regular season.
McMurray made a layup to make it 66-60 with 1:05 remaining to seal the deal for the Bulls.
The Bulls pulled away midway through the second half on a 7-0 run to give themselves an eight-point lead. Pirates cut the lead on back-to-back baskets from Tyson to bring East Carolina to within 54-51 with 5:23 on the clock.
The All-Rookie McMurray shot 3 for 12 on the night and the Bulls were 42 per cent from the field. They also out rebounded their opponents 43-41.
Nehemias Morillo split a pair of free throws to end the half and give the Bulls a 28-27 lead.
McMurray struggled in the first. Going 0-5 from the field but Angel Nunez helped in the tightly contested affair scoring 8 points and 6 rebounds.
The Bulls went on a 9-0 run to take a four-point lead late in the first half.
South Florida struggled to get anything going to begin the game. Pirates began the game on a 7-0 run as USF went 0 for 5 including two turnovers.
Bulls went on a run of their one outscoring the Pirates 10-2 to get their first lead of the game on a dunk by Chris Perry.
University of South Florida will play No. 1 seed Temple on Friday noon to begin the quarter-finals.