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BUFFALO STAR RB DYLAN MCDUFFIE ENTERS TRANSFER PORTAL
Plus: UB women's basketball finds path to first road win; UB men are still lost
Image from ubbulls.com
This is becoming a disturbing trend: there’s more bad news for Buffalo’s football program. Junior running back Dylan McDuffie has entered the transfer portal.
Buffalo running back Dylan McDuffie entered his name in the transfer portal, sources said. McDuffie, a native of Buffalo, was a three-star recruit and the No. 133 running back in the 2018 signing class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. McDuffie broke out in 2021, his fourth year with the Bulls, and is now exploring other options.
In his first three seasons with Buffalo, McDuffie totaled 124 yards, but he made the most of his opportunity this past fall. He carried the ball 2017 times for 1,052 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. Those should be attractive numbers for any team looking for help in its backfield for the 2022 season.
Coming out of high school, McDuffie received scholarship offers from programs like Central Michigan, Liberty, Ohio, Western Michigan and a number of FCS schools.
Entering the transfer portal isn’t necessarily a ticket out of town—Bulls running back Kevin Marks, who recently announced his decision to pursue a professional career, and quarterback Matt Myers entered the transfer portal after the 2020 season. Both later decided to return to the Blue and White.
On the flip side, you have cases like that of Bence Polgar, Buffalo’s starting center for most of the 2021 season. Polgar entered the portal on Dec. 29, and announced his commitment to the University of Missouri on New Year’s Eve.
This is the danger of slipping into Group of Five mediocrity—players leave for greener pastures. Offensive lineman Gabe Wallace entered the portal and reports he has offers from MAC rivals and bowl teams Western Michigan and Kent State; quarterback Kyle Vantrease tweets that he also has an offer from WMU as well as Wyoming, who actually played Kent State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
It doesn’t have to be a one-way street— just look at 2021 Mid-American Conference champs Northern Illinois, who snagged quarterback Rocky Lombardi from Michigan State and saw their fortunes completely turn around (an amazing freshmen class didn’t hurt, either). Conference USA imported 62 Power Five transfers in 2021. The Bulls have already grabbed three-star Rutgers quarterback Cole Snyder out of the portal this offseason.
In the UB’s case, specifically, the talent drain has drilled specific units. Eight offensive line recruits chose to leave the program over the past nine months.
Since the end of the 2020 season, Buffalo’s running back room has lost, or risks losing, Jaret Patterson (NFL), Kevin Marks (pros), Kolbe Burrell (portal), Tahliq Battle (portal), Michael Washington (portal), and, now, McDuffie—the 17th three-star player to choose life outside Western New York.
Three-star running back and New Hampshire Player of the Year Jackson Paradis is one of the highlights of the Bulls’ 2022 recruiting class. Looks like he’ll be a busy guy. If McDuffie leaves—and let’s hope he reconsiders—Paradis will have big shoes to fill.
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UB WOMEN DROP MIAMI (OHIO) FOR SECOND STRAIGHT CONFERENCE WIN
Image from ubbulls.com
There is some good news from New Year’s weekend: the Buffalo women’s basketball improved to 2-0 in MAC play with an 88-83 win over Miami (Ohio) on Saturday afternoon at John D. Millett Hall in Oxford.
The Bulls (8-4 overall, 2-0 in the MAC) jumped out to big 29-12 lead after the first quarter, and managed the game to the five-point victory.
The Bulls attacked from the start as they won the jump ball and (junior guard Dominique) Camp sliced to the basket for two on the opening possession to jumpstart a 9-0 run, capped by a triple from (freshman guard Georgia) Woolley and a beautiful pass from Camp to (senior forward Summer) Hemphill for a transition bucket, to force a Miami timeout at the 7:48 mark. The Bulls extended the run to 11-0 before the RedHawks got their first field goal three minutes in. Miami cut the UB lead to 15-9 at the five-minute mark but the Bulls answered with a 14-3 run on baskets from Hemphill and Camp to take a 29-12 lead at the end of the first.
Things did get a bit sketchy down the stretch, as miamiredhawks.com reports:
The RedHawks got within single digits on a (freshman guard Maddi) Cluse three-pointer in the third quarter, trailing 43-34, but Buffalo promptly stretched the margin back to 17 points with a 12-4 run.
Miami still trailed by 14 with 6:30 left in the game before ripping off a 19-8 run.
Jordan Tuff's three-pointer cut the Bulls' lead to 79-76 with just over two minutes to play, but the RedHawks would get no closer.
After a quiet, two-point first half, UB sophomore guard Dyaisha Fair (pictured above) unleashed a 26-point barrage in the final two quarters. Fair is now sixth in the nation in scoring with 22.2 points per game. Hemphill scored 20 points—her sixth consecutive game with double-digit scoring—and led all players with nine rebounds.
Camp scored 11 points and dished out nine assists to follow up her record-tying 16-assist performance last Thursday in Buffalo’s 92-75 win over Central Michigan. The transfer from Troy University is now tied for 82nd in Division 1 with a 4.4 assist-per-game average.
Senior forward Adebola Adeyeye added 15 points. Woolley booked 10 points and eight boards for the Bulls.
Next up: A Wednesday night trip to Bowling Green (6-4, 1-0). Always a hoot!
A quick preview from ESPN.com:
Bowling Green heads into the matchup with a 73.3 points per game average, 3.4 more than the 69.9 Buffalo gives up per contest. The Falcons are 3-2 in games when they score at least 70 points.
Morgan Sharps leads Bowling Green in scoring, averaging 12 points per game. The Falcons leading rebounder is Jocelyn Tate, who averages 6.2 boards per game in addition to scoring 6.7 points. Kenzie Lewis is the team's best passer, tallying 3.8 assists to go with 3.2 points per game…
(Sharps also) leads the team in made threes per game, hitting 3.3 treys per contest while shooting 51 percent from downtown.
Tipoff is 7 p.m. The game can be viewed on ESPN3.
UNDERMANNED UB MEN DROP THIRD STRAIGHT, FALL 88-76 AT AKRON
Image from gozips.com
Give COVID a healthy amount of blame for the UB men’s 88-76 loss at Akron on Saturday. The unwelcome virus knocked star forward Josh Mballa, front court mate Tra’Von Fagan, and Head Coach Jim Whitesell out of the lineup.
The result: a third straight defeat and fourth in their last six for the Bulls (6-6, 0-2, 117th in NCAA NET), who fell to .500 on the season.
The MAC favorites fell to a conference foe with the 178th NCAA NET ranking who hadn’t played in 17 days due to postponements, and is struggling with injury and COVID issues of its own.
“It was one of the best wins we’ve had in my five years here,” Zips coach John Groce said. “When you put all that together, I was so proud of the way they prepared and their no-excuses mentality. Nobody has complained about that stuff. They kept on trucking with their effort level, their toughness. The leadership from some of our older guys has been exceptional the last few days.”
The loss of the 6’7 Mballa and 6’8 Fagan allowed the Zips’ bigs to run wild—6’8 sophomore Ali Ali (pictured above) poured in 32 points, including 16 from the free throw line.
Six-foot-seven sophomore Enrique Freeman—the fifth-leading rebounder in Division 1 at 11.3 per game—scored 14 points and picked up 10 more boards.
Buffalo didn’t help itself, squandering a 14-point lead with less than five minutes remaining in the first half. The Bulls were outscored 2-to-1 the rest of the way, 74-37.
Raging pandemic aside, fouls were the name of this game.
The Bulls outshot the Zips from the floor (52% to 48%),;
Took more field goals attempts (56 to 52);
Were more successful behind the arc (41% to 36%; each team had 22 attempts)
The productivity, which included 19 points from guard Ronaldo Segu and a dozen each from Maceo Jack and Keishawn Brewton, came in spite of a UB offense that looked out of sorts for nearly the entire contest.
But oh, those whistles. Foul trouble hampered star forward Jeenathan Williams (19 points) after a 15-point first half.
Already shorthanded, junior LaQuill Hardnett caught the eye of the officials, fouling out in eight minutes of game time. That’s the second consecutive game Hardnett’s earned the hook—he’s collected a total of 10 fouls in his last 18 minutes.
Akron shot 40 free throws, making 30. Buffalo shot 17, making nine.
Ali seemed like he was at the line for the entire game, and—not to blame the refs (grits teeth)—both he and Freeman had free rein to throw themselves around in the paint, while the Bulls couldn’t seem to get a call.
In the end, it is what it is. And what it is, unfortunately, is a rocky start to the MAC schedule.
UB now has a weeklong layoff, thanks to a Jan. 4 postponement with Northern Illinois.
The good news:
Buffalo’s next four opponents are Bowling Green (home, Jan. 8), Western Michigan (road, Jan. 11), Ball State (road, Jan. 14), and Central Michigan (home, Jan. 18).
These four teams are a combined 19-30 this season, and should—COVID willing—be eminently beatable.
A four-game win streak would set Buffalo up nicely for a potentially season-defining three-game showdown with MAC contenders Kent State (home, Jan. 21), Toledo (road, Jan. 24), and Ohio (home, Jan. 28).
It ain’t over, folks! We just need to see our guys snap back into shape. And, hopefully, invest in some N95 masks.
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