BATON ROUGE -- LSU senior Tom Knights came up big Tuesday, lifting the Tigers past South Florida with a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-0 clinching victory over USF's Guillermo De Vilchez at home in the W.T. 'Dub' Robinson Stadium.
Down a set on court five, Knights rallied back to send the second set into a tiebreaker, and ultimately split the sets between De Vilchez, 1-1. With the match on the line, Knights showed his age, staying cool under pressure as he took the final set 6-0, sealing the match in the Tigers' favor.
In doubles, LSU (9-4, 2-2 SEC) mixed it up a little bit, throwing Knights into the lineup and pairing him with Stefan Szacinski. The duo seemed to gel well, taking care of USF's De Vilchez and Sebastian Hagn with an 8-2 victory.
The other two Tiger tandems followed Knights and Szacinski's lead, finishing off their respective opponents with ease.
"You know in doubles today we tried a little something different with inserting Tom Knights into the lineup," head coach Jeff Brown said. "It really gave us a new energy, and we ultimately got the doubles point which proved to be very important."
Up 1-0, freshman Chris Simpson jumped on USF's Juan Carlos Acuna in singles with a quick 6-1, 6-2 triumph, extending the Tigers lead to 2-0.
USF's Wael Kilani responded for the Bulls, putting his team back into the contest with a 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 victory on the top court over LSU's 66th-ranked Olivier Borsos.
The score now within one point, James Turbervill mustered up all he had to come back after being down one set to defeat Oliver Pramming, 2-6, 7-5, 6-2.
With the taste of victory in sight, senior Neal Skupski could not hold off USF's Yannick Yoshizawa, dropping the match and giving USF another shot at stealing the match away.
However, Knights refused to let that happen, knocking off Pramming and giving the Tigers the win.
With this victory, Knights improved to 10-2 on the season in singles play. As a team, LSU is now 10-0 all-time against USF.
"It was a tough match and I definitely think the heat took a lot out of our guys, but in the end a win is a win," Brown said. "We will take what we learned today and hopefully apply it to the doubleheader on Thursday."
LSU will host both Illinois State and St. John's on Thursday. The Illinois State match is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. CT with the St. John's match to follow shortly after.
Be sure to follow @lsutennis on Twitter and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lsutennis for updates on the Tigers and match play.
South Florida vs LSU
Mar 13, 2012 at Baton Rouge, La.
(W.T. 'Dub' Robinson Stadium)
#25 LSU 4, South Florida 3
1. Wael Kilani (USF) def. Olivier Borsos (LSU) 6-4, 1-6, 6-1
2. Yannick Yoshizawa (USF) def. Neal Skupski (LSU) 6-7 (1-7), 6-3, 6-1
3. Chris Simpson (LSU) def. Juan Carlos Acuna (USF) 6-1, 6-2
4. Ravi Patel (USF) def. Stefan Szacinski (LSU) 3-6, 7-6 (8-6), 5-1, retired
5. Tom Knights (LSU) def. Guillermo De Vilchez (USF) 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-0
6. James Turbervill (LSU) def. Oliver Pramming (USF) 2-6, 7-5, 6-2
1. #39 Neal Skupski/James Turbervill (LSU) def. Yannick Yoshizawa/Oliver Pramming (USF) 8-6
2. Wael Kilani/Federico Sabogal (USF) vs. #38 Olivier Borsos/Chris Simpson (LSU) 8-7
3. Tom Knights/Stefan Szacinski (LSU) def. Guillermo De Vilchez/Sebastian Hagn (USF) 8-2
South Florida (3-9)
LSU (9-4); National ranking #25
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (3,1,6,2,5,4)