Varnado, Hollimon lead Troy past South Florida 82-77
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Jordon Varnado and Jeremy Hollimon each scored 21 points to help Troy overcome a 14-point deficit in an 82-77 win over South Florida in the season opener for both teams.
South Florida freshman Jahmal McMurray led the Bulls with 21 points while Angel Nunez had 18 points and Chris Perry had 13 points with a career-high 17 rebounds.
Nunez gave the Bulls a 74-73 lead with 2:33 left, which ended up being their last lead of the game as Troy scored the next nine points to take control of the game.
During the pivotal 9-0 run, Hollimon made a layup and Varnado hit a 3 for a four-point lead. Varnado also made a layup and Hollimon followed with a pair of free throws.
Troy shot 41.0 percent from the field (32 of 78) while USF, which was plagued by 17 turnovers, shot 36.6 (26 for 71).
Varnado, who also grabbed 11 rebounds, made a 3-pointer to give Troy its first lead of the game at 56-53 with 13:43 left in the second half.
USF led 49-44 at the break in an up-tempo first half as the two teams combined to take 80 shots from the field and 24 free throws.
USF led by as many as 14 points after a 22-9 run to pull away from the Trojans for a 44-30 advantage.
During the run McMurray and Nunez knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Bulls a 33-22 lead and bring the crowd to its feet.
Nunez hit another 3 to put the Bulls on top 49-35 before Troy responded with the final nine points of the half to get back in the game.
John Walton III made a lay-up to open the scoring in the second half to give him seven points during Troy's 11-0 run.
South Florida: Perry's 17-rebound performance was three more than the 14 he had against Alabama on Dec. 7, 2013. It was the sixth time in 52 games that he has posted at least 10 rebounds.
Troy: Wesley Person, son of the former NBA player with the same name, was held to 8 points on 3-of-14 shooting. He was named the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year last season when averaged 14.2 points.
South Florida hosts NJIT on Monday.
Troy hosts Reinhardt on Sunday.