TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Brandon Pokley scored 15 points, Darius Paul had 14, and Western Michigan beat South Florida 58-53 on Sunday.
The victory gave Broncos' coach Steve Hawkins his 300th career win. Nate Hutcheson added 11 for Western Michigan (4-1).
``I truly did not know it until it happened ... when I started I was skinny and had hair,' the bald-headed Hawkins said. ``The most important thing, we've got a lot of freshmen, and to get the win, to reward the kids for a great effort was the most important thing.'
South Florida (2-2) got 16 points from Shaun Noriega. Toarlyn Fitzpatrick chipped in 14 points, while Anthony Collins had 12 assists.
``We've got to be more consistent,' Noriega said. ``That's been a big issue for us.'
Both teams won games Friday and Saturday in the three-day South Florida Invitational.
Jared Klein converted a 3-pointer to give Western Michigan a 55-50 lead with three minutes to go. Jawanza Poland's three-point play cut the USF deficit to 55-53 with just two under minutes remaining, then Hutcheson's late three-point play made it 58-53.
South Florida grabbed a 46-45 lead when Noriega made a 3-pointer and added a three-point play midway through the second half.
``We've got to become a better team at finishing,' South Florida coach Stan Heath said. ``We were very good at that in the past.'
Paul connected on a 3-pointer as Western Michigan went ahead 43-38 with 13 1-2 minutes left.
Fitzpatrick had 12 points to help South Florida take a 36-34 halftime lead. The senior forward made his fourth 3-pointer of the half and Zach LeDay had a slam to put the Bulls ahead 32-25 three minutes before the break.
``We had a chance to really buckle when South Florida took a seven-point lead there,' Hawkins said. ``I thought that was the critical point in the game.'
Pokley hit a pair of long-range jumpers as Western Michigan took an early 10-5 lead. South Florida, keyed by three 3-pointers by Fitzpatrick, went ahead 13-12 six minutes into the game.
Western Michigan outrebounded USF 39-26.
The Associated Press News Service
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