Late Rally Comes Up Short inl 76-69 Loss at South Florida (2018-12-16 13:47:19)

TAMPA, Fla. -- Appalachian State men's basketball trimmed a 12-point second half deficit to as little as three points, but came up on the short end of a 76-69 decision at South Florida on Saturday afternoon.

With 4:51 remaining in the game, the Bulls (7-2) opened a 69-57 lead on a three-pointer by Alexis Yetna. From there, App State (4-6) scored the next nine points to trim the USF lead to 69-66 with 1:39 left in the game.

South Florida answered with the next three points, before a free throw from Isaac Johnson pulled the Black and Gold back to within five points at 72-67 with 35 seconds left. USF came right back with a pair of free throws, but App State got two freebies from Justin Forrest with 25 seconds left to trim its deficit to 74-69.

The Mountaineers fouled again and David Collins of USF hit two free throws with 19 seconds to play. The Mountaineers came down and a three-pointer by Forrest was no good. The Bulls grabbed the rebound and hung on for the victory.

A layup by Ronshad Shabazz at the 12:58 mark of the first half gave the Mountaineers a 14-12 advantage. The Bulls responded with the next 14 points to build a 26-14 lead. USF was able to take as large of a lead as 15 points in the first half, but App State cut its deficit to nine points, 38-29, at the break.

Shabazz tallied a game-high 29 points on 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) shooting, to go along with three rebounds and two assists. Also in the game, he moved into fifth place on the all-time scoring list, passing Billy Ross (1,656).

Forrest tallied 17 points, including a perfect 6-of-6 shooting at the charity stripe, while adding two assists and two steals.

Isaac Johnson finished with six points and 10 rebounds, marking the third time in the past four games he has had double digit rebounds. Hunter Seacat added a career-high five blocked shots.

Laquincy Rideau finished with a game-high 18 points for the Bulls. Yetna added 13 points and a game-high 18 rebounds, while Xavier Castaneda had 12 points and three rebounds off the bench.

App State went 22-of-56 (39.3 percent) from the field and 20-of-24 (83.3 percent) from the charity stripe.

Appalachian State will return to action on Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. at Georgetown. The contest will be broadcast on FS1.

Photo Courtesy: Ronshad Shabazz, App State Sports