COLLEGE HOOPS

Bulls Head to Orlando for War on I-4 Battle

Matchup: USF (8-18, 1-12 AAC) at UCF (15-9, 6-6 AAC)
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 14
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Orlando, Fla. | CFE Arena (10,000)
TV: ESPNews (Jay Alter, Mark Wise)
Radio: AM 820 | USF Bulls Unlimited (Jim Lighthall, Jim Louk)

TAMPA, FEB. 13, 2018 – The USF men’s basketball takes the short bus trip to Orlando for the War on I-4 finale on Wednesday evening against UCF. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNews.

The Bulls (8-18, 1-12 AAC) last played on Saturday, a 73-55 loss to Temple. The Bulls had a strong first half, going to the break tied, 30-30, before the Owls pulled away in the second half.

Senior Isaiah Manderson (Bronx, N.Y.) set a new career high in points for the second straight game, scoring 18 against Temple with eight boards. Earlier in the week against UConn, Manderson scored 15 points with eight rebounds. For the two-game week, Manderson shot 78.9 percent (15-for-19) from the field. Nine of his 16 boards for the week came on the offensive end.

Freshman David Collins (Youngstown, Ohio) finished in double figures for the fourth straight game on Saturday, the longest such streak of his career. He added three rebounds and two assists in the game. Over the four-game streak, Collins is averaging 13.3 points per contest and shooting 48.6 percent (17-for-35) from the field and 88.9 percent (16-for-18) from the free throw line.

The third Bull to reach double digits against the Owls was Payton Banks (Orange, Calif.). He finished with an even 10 points for his 16th double-figure scoring game of the year and the 51st of his career. Banks now sits only 37 points away from becoming the second Bull this season to reach 1,000 career points. Stephan Jiggetts (Forestville, Md.) reached the milestone earlier in the season.

THE OPPONENT
USF faces UCF (15-9, 6-6 AAC) for the second time this season and the 37th time in team history. The Knights handed the Bulls a heartbreaking 71-69 loss in the first half of the season series.

USF led for 29 minutes on Jan. 20, but UCF came on strong late and just slid past the Bulls.

Stephan Jiggetts led the Bulls with 21 points in the game, while UCF’s BJ Taylor led all scorers with 25 points. Taylor added five assists in the game and went 10-for-11 from the free throw line.

UCF played the first matchup without the third-leading rebounder in the conference, AJ Davis. Davis is averaging 8.0 rebounds per game to go along with 10.7 points.

USF holds a 22-14 advantage in the all-time series. The two teams are at an 8-8 stalemate in games played in Orlando. The Bulls are still searching for their first win since the War on I-4 was instituted prior to last season. UCF has won all three games since the start of 2016-17 and has won five straight overall.

NOTABLES
Isaiah Manderson has eclipsed 50 percent from the field on the season, shooting 50.7 percent (71-for-140). The mark is good for 10th in the American Athletic Conference and makes him one of only 13 players in the AAC to be shooting above 50 percent. Manderson is now the Bulls’ third-leading scorer at 8.3 points per game.

Sophomore guard Henry Beard (Seminole, Fla.) got his first career point on a free throw in the second half against Temple. Beard had played in 19 games previously without a point before reaching the line and sinking his first career free throw attempt.

As a team, the Bulls are shooting 72.4 percent (331-for-457) from the free throw line on the season. Should USF stay above 70 percent as a team, it would be the first Bulls squad since the 2011-12 season, when that team shot 70.5 percent from the line.