Russell Carter puts up a jump shot over South Florida's Melvin Buckley. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

No. 21 Irish Unable to Overcome South Florida

Feb. 3, 2007

Notre Dame at USF Box Score

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – McHugh Mattis scored 13 of his season-high 23 points in the second half and also grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds to lead South Florida to a 69-63 victory over No. 21 Notre Dame on Saturday night.

Melvin Buckley added 11 points for the Bulls (12-11, 3-6), who squandered a double-digit lead before pulling away for good in the last five minutes to win for only the fourth time in 25 conference games since entering the Big East last season.

Colin Falls led Notre Dame (18-5, 6-4) with 26 points. Russell Carter finished with 14 and Luke Harangody had 10 for the Irish, who shot 37.5 percent less than two weeks after routing South Florida 82-58 in South Bend.

USF finished a three-game homestand with the two victories that coach Robert McCullum felt were crucial to his team having a realistic chance to make a run at a berth in the Big East postseason tournament.

The Bulls beat Rutgers for just their third conference win in two seasons and narrowly missed pulling off an upset against Marquette, committing a turnover in the closing seconds and losing 70-68 on a layup at the buzzer last Sunday.

Notre Dame, the league’s top scoring team at more than 83 per game, continued to struggle on the road, where they’ve dropped four of five conference games.

The Irish were coming off a 103-91 victory at Syracuse, but were 9-for-28 on 3-point attempts and held to just four field goals overall in the final five minutes