Collins, Yetna lead Bulls to second conference win

By Jeremy Johnson, Correspondent
On January 9, 2019

USF coach Brian Gregory is content with Wednesday's win against Tulane, but knows his team must play better to keep winning in the AAC.
 SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/GOUSFBULLS

Alexis Yetna and David Collins led the way as USF men’s basketball topped Tulane 66-48 on Wednesday at the Yuengling Center.

Yetna scored 15 points and 11 rebounds as he recorded his AAC-leading eighth double-double of the season, while Collins scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Bulls (12-3, 2-1) to their second conference win this season.

Despite the double-double, Yetna said he feels that he could have played better Wednesday.

“I still feel like I played a good game still,” Yetna said. “I got four turnovers, which is way too much and I only got two offensive rebounds. I just try to grind it out, I try to go hard and I found myself with a double-double. I would say I got lucky with it.”

A major issue this season for USF has been making free throws. The Bulls entered the night 339th out of 351 Division I schools in free-throw percentage. However, Wednesday was an above average night from the charity stripe, as the Bulls made 65 percent of their free throws.

Redshirt senior TJ Lang started the Bulls’ success from the free-throw line after coming off the bench as he was able to convert two shots.

“I think our strength is our depth, if one guy is not playing well then someone has to step in and we did that,” coach Brian Gregory said. “I thought TJ played very well for us, got us going in the first half with a couple threes.”

The Bulls displayed a sense of lock-down defense through most of the first half, allowing only 12 points through the first 10 minutes and also racked up seven defensive rebounds, two blocks, four steals and caused 10 turnovers. They also utilized these takeaways to score 10 fastbreak points.

Additionally, Mayan Kiir was able to get the crowd roaring halfway through the first half when he dunked a ball through two Green Wave defenders. The cheers only got louder as Laquincy Rideau drove into the paint multiple times and Yetna drained a shot from downtown.

Even Collins, who is not known for dunking, got in on the action. Collins connected on a hard dunk late in the second half that helped seal the deal for his team. Collins also contributed on the defensive side of the ball by recording five steals.

“Playing fast and in transition is always fun,” Collins said. “Getting everyone involved and everyone feels like they are involved, it is always fun.”

USF wasn’t successful just because of one or two players, however. The Bulls had nine different players cycle throughout the game, and all nine were able to play double-digit minutes.

“We are nine or 10 strong and guys have to be ready to go, that gives us our best chance,” Gregory said. “When you build a type of program we want to build, when guys don't play well they still feel good when someone else does.”

Up next for the Bulls is a trip to Philadelphia to face Temple on Saturday afternoon. The Owls are 12-3 after defeating No. 17 Houston on Wednesday night.

“We will have to play better on Saturday, no question about it,” Gregory said. “But we have guys who come to work every single day, I love the guys and they are great to be around. It makes coaching fun, it is frustrating sometimes, but we are going to build it the right way. The process is moving forward and in the right direction.”

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