Matchup: USF (8-21, 1-15 AAC) at Memphis (18-11, 9-7 AAC)
Date: Thursday, March 1, 2018
Time: 9 p.m. EST
Location: Memphis, Tenn. | FedEx Forum (18,400)
TV: ESPNews (Richard Cross, Tim Welsh)
Radio: AM 820 | USF Bulls Unlimited (Jim Lighthall, Joey Johnston)
TAMPA, FEB. 28, 2018 – The Bulls travel to Memphis for the last regular season road game of 2017-18 to take on the Tigers on Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPNews.
With the game Thursday night comes the chance for a couple of Bulls to hit personal milestones. Graduate forward Payton Banks (Orange, Calif.) needs just 16 points to reach 1,000 for his career. Banks is the Bulls’ second-leading scorer, averaging 11.5 points per game and sitting at an even 300 points for the season.
Banks is coming off back-to-back double-digit scoring performances and has hit double figures in seven of the last nine games. In addition to being a consistent scorer for the Bulls, Banks has been a strong player on the glass, sitting third on the team in rebounding with an average of 3.6 boards per contest.
Freshman David Collins (Youngstown, Ohio) also has a chance to hit a new mark for the Bulls this season as he goes for his eighth straight game scoring 10-plus points. Should he reach double figures, Collins would break a tie with Banks and Stephan Jiggetts (Forestville, Md.) for the longest double-digit scoring streak for USF this season.
Over the course of his seven-game streak, Collins is averaging a team-best 14.6 points per game. He is shooting 52.5 percent (32-for-61) from the field, 55.6 percent (10-for-18) from three, and 90.3 percent (28-for-31) from the free throw line during that span. He has added 3.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.
The Bulls (8-21, 1-15 AAC) last played on Saturday afternoon in a 79-68 loss to Tulane. The Green Wave successfully avenged a Jan. 25 loss to the Bulls in New Orleans, which stands as USF’s lone conference win of the season.
The game did have some bright spots for the Bulls, as four different players scored in double figures. Collins led the team in scoring for the third straight game, finishing with 17 points to go with four rebounds and four assists. Jiggetts was the second-leading scorer, getting 14 points with two rebounds and three assists. Isaiah Manderson (12) and Banks (10) were the last two to score 10-plus in the game. Banks had five rebounds and three steals in the game.
USF faces Memphis (18-11, 9-7 AAC) for the second time this season on Thursday night. The Tigers currently sit in fifth in The American, which would line them up to face the Bulls again on March 8 in the opening round of the AAC Tournament in Orlando should the standings remain the same.
The Tigers will be playing without star point guard Jeremiah Martin, who was ruled out for the season with a broken foot. Martin’s 18.9 points per game are currently tops in the conference. He also was the team leader in assists per game (3.8) before going down with the injury.
In the first matchup between the two teams on Jan. 31, an 86-74 win for Memphis, Martin led all scorers with 25 points and dished out nine assists. He also had five rebounds. Guard Jamal Johnson was the second-leading scorer for the Tigers, finishing with 18 on the night.
Game one of the season series saw a breakout performance from Collins, who scored a career-high 21 points on 5-of-9 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line. Collins had four rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block for a full stat line.
Banks had 16 points for the Bulls on three assists and two rebounds, while freshman Justin Brown (Birmingham, Ala.) added 13 points and three rebounds.
The Bulls and Tigers meet for the 30th time on Thursday night, with Memphis holding a 25-4 advantage in the all-time series.
The game in Memphis marks 500 straight games called for USF Radio play-by-play man Jim Lighthall. Lighthall last missed a game on March 2, 2002 for the birth of his son, Jake. Jake turns 16 years old on March 1.
David Collins is seven for his last eight from three and has converted 28 of his last 31 attempts from the free throw line.
Stephan Jiggetts is currently seventh in the conference in three point field goal percentage, shooting 40.4 percent (55-for-136) from beyond the arc. His 55 made threes are tops on the Bulls.
About USF Men’s Basketball
The USF men’s basketball team is led by head coach Brian Gregory. On March 22, Gregory was introduced as the 10th head coach in program history. He previously led programs at Georgia Tech (2011-16) and Dayton (2003-11). Gregory spent nearly a decade as an assistant coach under Michigan State’s Hall of Fame head coach Tom Izzo and helped the Spartans win the 2000 NCAA National Championship. Gregory brings nearly 250 career head coaching wins and six postseason appearances, including the 2010 NIT Championship, to Tampa.
USF has retired three numbers in its 47-year history: Chucky Atkins (12), Charlie Bradley (30) and Radenko Dobras (31). The Bulls have earned three NCAA tournament bids and appeared in the NIT eight times.
For tickets, contact the USF Ticket Office at 1-800-Go-Bulls or by going online to USFBullsTix.com.