USF had coughed up an eight-point lead with less than five minutes left against the worst team in the Big East when the ball bounced out to Dominique Jones, who was having a miserable shooting night.
Jones put his misery behind by calmly draining a tie-breaking 3-pointer with less than two minutes left to lift the Bulls to a 63-59 victory at DePaul on Tuesday night.
Late heroics seemed unlikely when USF (18-11, 8-9) took a 56-48 lead on Jones' layup with 5:02 to go. But the Bulls unraveled in allowing the Blue Demons (8-21, 1-16) to go on an 8-0 run to tie it with 2:32 left.
The late possession didn't seem eventful as time ticked down, and the ball was knocked away on a drive by Anthony Crater. The loose ball ended up in the hands of Jones, who nailed the shot to put USF ahead for good.
"Probably a couple minutes before that, he came and said, 'Coach I'm just not playing well,'" USF coach Stan Heath said. "I said, 'Dominique, you're not the first really good player not to play well in a game. What you have to do is just finish well.' And I thought he stepped up."
Jones finished 4-for-17 for 20 points, also making 10 of 12 at the line. The Bulls made 21of 29 free throws, including 14 of 19 in the second half.
It could have been a tense finish had DePaul not missed three of its six foul shots in the final 2 minutes of its 11th consecutive loss. Jones made a pair for the final margin with 22.5 seconds left.
Chris Howard had 13 points and Augustus Gilchrist 11 for USF, which has a chance to finish with a .500 Big East mark in Saturday's home finale against Connecticut.
"To go .500 would be a huge feather in our cap," Heath said. "It would mean a lot."
Blue Demons center Mac Koshwal scored 24 points and had 11 rebounds.