TAMPA, Fla. — Jesus Verdejo scored 21 points and Dominique Jones made a driving layup to put South Florida ahead with 15.9 seconds to go, and the host Bulls held on Friday night for a 57-56 victory over No. 8 Marquette.
USF's first win over a top-10 opponent snapped Marquette's 12-game winning streak and left the Big East without an unbeaten team in conference play. The Bulls (8-14, 3-7) led by as many as 10 but needed nine points from Verdejo in a five-minute span of the second half to keep the Eagles (20-3, 9-1) from taking over the game.
Marquette's Wesley Matthews missed a six-footer and Lazar Hayward's putback rolled off the rim as time expired, dropping the Eagles into second in the Big East behind No. 1 Connecticut.
Jerel McNeal led Marquette with 22 points before fouling out in the final minute. The cold-shooting Eagles went 4-for-24 on three-point attempts and were 10-for-23 from the foul line.
Jones finished with 15, but his inability to make free throws in the last minute ensured Marquette would have a chance to win at the buzzer. The Bulls' leading scorer missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 54.1 seconds left, then failed to complete a three-point play on the basket that put USF up for good.
Around the nation
Tennessee State: Cy Alexander was fired as basketball coach, Athletic Director Teresa Phillips announced. Assistant coach Mark Pittman was named interim coach.
Alexander was in his sixth season at Tennessee State, posting a record of 67-107 overall and 48-56 in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Tigers were 4-8 and 6-16 this season.
Mississippi State: Mississippi State will retire former Bulldog and NBA star Bailey Howell's No. 52 jersey at halftime of Saturday's game against Arkansas in Starkville. Howell is the first MSU basketball player to have his jersey retired.
The 71-year-old Tennessee native played for the Bulldogs from 1957-59. He went on to play 12 seasons (1959-1971) in the NBA, where he was a six-time All-Star as a member of the Detroit Pistons, Baltimore Bullets, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers.
Thursday's late games
Lindsey Wilson 71, St. Catharine 69: Eric McPherson put back his missed shot with 1.8 seconds left for the visiting Blue Raiders. The host Patriots turned the ball over on the inbounds play.
The victory was the 400th in Coach Paul Peck's 21-year career.
Arthur Latham of St. Catharine (5-18, 1-5 Mid-South) led all scorers with 30 points. McPherson's 21 points led the Raiders (18-3, 5-1), and Jeff Vories had 13 points.
Jacksonville State 57, Morehead State 52: The host Gamecocks scored the last nine points to upset the Eagles.
Morehead (13-11, 9-3) stayed in first place in the Ohio Valley Conference, thanks to UT Martin's victory over Austin Peay.
Leon Buchanan's 17 points led the Eagles. Kenneth Faried had his 14th double-double of the season with 14 points and 20 rebounds.