Despite two good looks with the clock dwindling, the USF men’s basketball team couldn’t find a way to tie the game with last-second shots, and the Bulls fell 45-42 at Rutgers Saturday in their last regular season game of the year.

Trailing by three with less than 12 seconds remaining, freshman Augustus Gilchrist had a three-point effort go off the rim, but junior Chris Howard grabbed an offensive rebound. Howard then found senior Jesus Verdejo, who launched a three-pointer from the top of the key that clanked off the back of the iron as the buzzer sounded.

USF had only one possession in the final two minutes after two-straight offensive rebounds by the Scarlet Knights that led to Rutgers sophomore Earl Pettis’ tip-in to make it 45-42 with 0:13 seconds remaining. Rutgers finished with 15 offensive rebounds.

Neither team shot well. USF finished 29 percent from the floor, while Rutgers shot 31 percent and scored two points in the final eight minutes after extending its lead to 43-34 at the 8:40 mark.

Verdejo returned from Plantar Fasciitis and Achilles Tendonitis in his right ankle to finish with five points in 22 minutes played. Sophomore Dominique Jones went 0-for-6 from three-point range but finished with a team-high 11 points.

The Bulls will stay in New Jersey on Saturday and Sunday then leave for New York and the Big East Tournament on Monday. USF will practice at the Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn on Monday to prepare for Tuesday night’s game against Seton Hall at 9 p.m. in Madison Square Garden.

-k.k.

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