ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Angel Nunez scored 19 points, on 7-of-12 shooting, with 11 rebounds and Chris Perry made 7 of 11 field-goal attempts and finished with 18 points to help ninth-seeded South Florida beat No. 8 seed East Carolina 71-66 in the first round of the American Athletic Conference tournament on Thursday.
It was the third-career double-double for Nunez, who began his career at Louisville before playing the last two seasons at Gonzaga.
Lance Tejada hit a 3-pointer and, after an offensive foul on Nunez, made a layup to pull East Carolina (12-20) within two with 2:48 to play.
A layup by Bo Zeigler and a dunk by Jaleel Cousins pushed the South Florida (8-24) lead to 64-58 with 1:24 left and Jahmal McMurray scored four as the Bulls made 5 of 6 free throws from there to seal it.
USF will face top-seeded Temple (20-10) in the quarterfinals on Friday.
B.J. Tyson led ECU with 19 points.