Guard Anthony Collins stepped up to the free throw line with USF's NCAA Tournament hopes in the back of his mind.
Down one point to Cincinnati, Collins secured the tie on his first attempt. And on his second, he won it.
The Bulls would hold on to drop the Bearcats 46-45 to move to 18-11 overall and 11-5 in Big East play.
Collins, who sank the two critical free throws, also led Stan Heath's team in points with 14 - the only USF player to hit the double-digit point mark.
Forwards Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and Ron Anderson Jr. featured in supporting roles scoring eight and seven points, respectively. Fitzpatrick also recorded 10 rebounds, a team-high number.
South Florida will travel to 17th-ranked Louisville on Wednesday with another opportunity to impress the NCAA Tournament selection committee. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.