DePaul almost made it a contest against South Florida.
The Blue Demons clawed their way back from multiple double-digit deficits in the second half, eventually pulling to within five halfway through the frame.
But in the end, the Bulls were just too talented and junior guard Dominique Jones was just too dynamic to contain.
The 6-4 Jones - who won the Big East scoring title after averaging 23.3 points per game in league play -- netted 20 points and had nine rebounds Monday afternoon, as ninth-seeded South Florida won its first Big East Tournament game in school history, topping No. 16 DePaul, 58-49, in yesterday's first round at Madison Square Garden.
Mike Mercer chipped in14 points and five rebounds for the Bulls (20-11), who will face No. 8 Georgetown today at noon in the second round.
DePaul, the worst team in the Big East, stumbled out of the gate and fell behind by 19 with 2:40 to go until halftime. Despite trailing 30-15 at the break, the Blue Demons (8-23) capped an 11-2 run with a Jeremiah Kelly three-pointer to pull within 36-31 with 12:34 left in the game.
But that's the closest DePaul - which lost to South Florida, 63-59, last week in their final regular-season meeting -- would get.
Guard Will Walker, who provided two big three-pointers within the final three minutes to pull DePaul within striking distance, led the Blue Demons with 20 points.
"DePaul, give them a lot of credit. They don't quit." said USF coach Stan Heath. "They have a lot of fight in them. They kept coming at us. We had to just kind of weather the storm a little bit and hold on and get the win."