TAMPA, Fla. – Hugh Robertson had 17 points and Augustus Gilchrist scored all 10 of his points in the second half to help South Florida finish a 17-point comeback and go on to beat struggling Providence 79-72 on Sunday.
Jarrid Famous had 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls (7-12, 1-5), who snapped a seven-game losing streak and left Providence (11-8, 0-6) and DePaul as the only winless teams in Big East play.
Marshon Brooks paced Providence, which led 38-21 with 1:41 remaining in the opening half, with 28 points.
But the Big East's second-leading scorer got little help from teammates down the stretch. Kadeem Batts finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Friars, who have lost six straight games — all in conference play.
USF closed out its first win since a 12-point victory over Auburn on Dec. 15 by going 8 for 8 from the foul line in the final minute. Jawanza Poland made four of those free throws to finish with 13 points, despite going 2 of 11 from the field.
Gilchrist was scoreless at the half, but his size and strength were big down the stretch. The 6-foot-10 forward's first basket — a dunk with just under 12 minutes to go — capped a 29-11 surge that enabled the Bulls to overcome their big deficit and take a 50-49 lead.
Providence led twice more, the last time 54-52 when Brooks drove the lane for a dunk.
But the Friars, who led by 12 at halftime and have also played Syracuse, Pitt and St. John's close during the their losing streak, faltered after missing three of four free throws during a crucial stretch in which Robertson came off the bench to give USF a lift with seven quick points.
Brooks' final basket pulled Providence within 68-65 with under two minutes to go. Duke Mondy missed a long 3-pointer that would have tied the score, then Brooks misfired on a layup in heavy traffic before USF pulled away for good.
South Florida overcame 30 percent shooting in the opening half by going 18 of 34 (52.9 percent) after halftime.
Toarlyn Fitzpatrick made a huge difference off the bench for the Bulls, devliering 10 points, four rebounds, one block and a steal in 16 minutes. Most of his production came during the 10-minute stretch in which USF wiped out the double-digit deficit.