The USF (6-6) men’s basketball team defeated the NAU Lumberjacks 70-56 Monday night at the Sun Dome.
Bulls guard Payton Banks got off to a smoking hot start, scoring 16 first half points on the way to tying his USF career high with 23.
Banks hit his last four shots from the field in the first half, including a buzzer-beating three to give the Bulls a 33-23 edge heading into the locker room.
“I’m trying to stay away from being streaky but unfortunately right now that’s what I am,” Banks said.
Banks was in the Sun Dome for Kitija Laksa’s NCAA-record 11 straight made threes Friday night. He said he drew inspiration from her otherworldly outburst to set a new career high for three’s of his own.
“I felt kinda intimidated. Every time I see her in the training room, I wanna ask her for tips,” Banks said. “That (performance) was unbelievable. I’ve never seen somebody go through the whole game like that and not miss.”
Redshirt junior forward Isaiah Manderson continued his recent hot streak with eight first half points, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. It’s the first double-double of his career.
“Honestly, I don’t even play for stats. I just want to win,” Manderson said.
After a solid start to the game, NAU is doubling Manderson when he gets the ball on the block. He draws the foul and will shoot two FT— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) December 19, 2017
“He handled their post trap really well. Guys gotta realize that’s a compliment,” Gregory said. “I’m not sure any of our guys have been post trapped before. I’m not sure anyone’s ever had to do that before.”
USF held NAU (2-10) to 35% from the field and just 17% from three, while the Bulls shot over 50% from the field for the second time in two games.
The Bulls committed 18 turnovers on the night while dishing out 13 assists on 26 field goals. Gregory said he was not happy with the sloppiness at times during the game, especially early in the second when NAU was able to cut a 10-point halftime lead to three in just under three minutes.
Grad transfer Stephan Jiggetts scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half to help the Bulls pull away late.
USF will host Charlotte, an old friend and rival from way back, on Thursday in the Sun Dome at 7:00 p.m. The game will be shown on ESPN3.
Alexis Yetna Update:
Well, we have clarity on @USFMBB’s forward Alexis Yetna situation:— Nathan Bond (@BullsNathanSBN) December 18, 2017
He must sit out the entire season. #USF #GoBulls pic.twitter.com/lWQr85UioV
“I’m highly disappointed. I thought our people here did a great job of presenting his case and the mitigating circumstances regarding his case,” Gregory said. “I thought we handed in a first-class way. We talk nowadays about student welfare and as I heard this (decision), this isn’t well or fair when it comes to Alexis Yetna.”
Yetna graduated from high school in three years while in France, then came to the US and played at prep school for a year. He went back to France after things didn’t work out with the first school, and he got another shot in the US at Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut. That’s where the problem lies.
If you graduate from high school in four years, you’re allowed a “gap year” after graduating to attend a prep school. But, since Yetna graduated from high school in three years, Putnam thought he’d be able to play a second year of prep school ball because three plus two equals five just as four plus one equals five. Except in the eyes of the NCAA.
They ruled that Yetna’s second year was a competitive advantage so he must sit out this season and lose a year of eligibility in the process. USF will appeal the decision to get the extra year back for him.