Discover more from UB In 5
NO SURPRISES: UB MEN FLATTEN ST. JOHN FISHER
Up next: a tough test at Princeton for the women, and a Big 4 tripleheader for the men.
Image from ubbulls.com
I was out running some errands when Georgetown clipped Syracuse in D.C. yesterday, 79-75, and had the opportunity to hear longtime Hoyas radio play-by-play man Rich Chvotkin lose his g.d. mind. Chovtkin shouted “Hoyas win!” 25 times in a row in celebration of Georgetown’s come-from-behind victory over its former Big East rival.
This seemed pretty wild, even in the heat of the moment, considering it’s a December non-conference game between two teams that entered the day with combined records of 9-8. But I get it, history and whatnot.
No one needed to shout “Bulls win!” upon conclusion of the UB men’s basketball team’s 100-58 win over St. John Fisher at Buffalo’s Alumni Arena on Saturday—your inside voice would do. This one was in the books before the whistle.
This is not a knock on the Cardinals (6-3), a perennial Empire 8 contender who officially treated the game as an exhibition (it counted towards the Bulls’ overall record, however). Fisher was the #1 seed in its conference playoffs last season, losing in the title game to Utica. They’ve had one season below .500 since 2005, which is as far back as records go on the SJF website.
They’re not without competitive talent. Junior forward Daniel Cook, for instance, is a former All-Greater Rochester (N.Y.) High School Player of the Year and last season’s Empire 8 MVP. He dropped 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against Buffalo on Saturday, both game-highs.
At the end of the day, however, UB (6-3) is 73rd in the NCAA’s NET ranking of the 358 Division I men’s basketball teams, and Fisher is a good, not great, D3 squad. The outcome was never in doubt.
The Bulls shot 50% from the floor and led for just under 39 minutes of action. An early three-pointer from Ronaldo Segu (pictured above) gave the Bulls a quick double-digit lead just five and a half minutes in. Another three from Segu extended the lead to 24-8. The Cardinals would cut the deficit to 13, but the Bulls went on an 11-3 run over the 2:55 of the first half to take a 48-27 lead into the break. UB forced St. John Fisher into 17 turnovers in the first half.
Segu ended up with 16 points, three assists, and two steals in 24 minutes. Senior swingman Jeenathan Williams, back from an illness that kept him out of Wednesday’s road win over Western Kentucky, scored 17 points. Senior forward Josh Mballa added 18 points and a team-high seven boards.
Senior guard Maceo Jack collected nine points, albeit on 0-for-6 shooting from three, and redshirt sophomore big man David Skogman snagged six rebounds.
Buffalo coach Jim Whitesell emptied the bench, as expected, and the reserves contributed 39 points. Grad student Tra’Von Fagan and freshman guard Kidtrell Blocker scored 11 each—Blocker in just nine minutes.
Tip the cap to juniors Ty Perry, LaQuill Hardnett, and Lucas Saleh, who all contributed on the score sheet, and freshman Kuluel Mading and senior Jamon Bivens, who each saw double-digit minutes in the blowout.
What’s Next for the Bulls: Princeton for the women, Canisius for the men
Image from goprincetontigers.com
The UB women (6-2), winners of five straight, travel to the Garden State on Tuesday to play the defending Ivy League champs, Princeton (6-3). Their hosts will likely be in a foul mood after losing its second game in a row, including Saturday’s 70-60 home setback to Seton Hall—its first defeat at Jadwin Gymnasium since Feb. 8, 2019.
Coach Carla Berube’s team, who entered the season on a 613-day streak without a game (thanks, COVID), are not used to losing. The Tigers have finished first or second in conference play every year since 2015.
Princeton is paced by the high-scoring backcourt of senior guard Abby Meyers (18 points per game, pictured above) and junior guard Julia Cunningham (14.2 ppg). Six-foot-one sophomore forward Ellie Mitchell averages 9.8 rebounds and seven points per contest. Mitchell also leads the team with 22 steals.
Meyers is shooting over 40% from three on the season.
The game starts at 7 p.m. and can be viewed on ESPN+.
Image from gogriffs.com
The UB men have the less daunting task of facing crosstown rival Canisius (2-9, 0-2 in the MAAC) on Saturday at Key Bank Arena in downtown Buffalo. Call it the Metro Rail Melee! It’s the featured bout in a daylong Big 4 tripleheader that includes an 11 a.m. Franklin Pierce-Daemen matchup and a 2 p.m. Albany-Niagara donnybrook.
The Golden Griffins had their wings blown off on Saturday, losing 71-43 at Youngstown State. The Buffalo News reported that the Griffs fell behind by 17 in the first half and, well, it got worse from there.
Canisius has now lost five in a row.
Six-foot-seven, 220-pound senior forward Malek Green (pictured above) averages 16.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, both team highs. Sophomore guard Siem Uijtendaal, an import from Holland, is shooting nearly 40% from three. Senior guard Ahamadou Fofana averages over three assists per contest, including eight in Saturday’s loss to the Penguins.
All in all, however, these are dark days at the Koessler Athletic Center.
“To get out from underneath something like this, we need to get in the gym and just keep working,” Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon told The Buffalo News. Witherspoon posted 198 wins as UB’s bench guru from 1999 to 2013. “I’m not telling them that we’ve lost five in a row. We aren’t going to get out of this on pregame speeches, or postgame speeches. We need to get in the gym and get to work.”
Tipoff is 5 p.m. Tickets are available online.
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