Discover more from UB In 5
ONE WIN, AND SOME BIG LOSSES
The UB women open their MAC schedule with a victory; men's basketball and football have a rough couple days
Image from ubbulls.com
Before we get into basketball, there’s more transfer portal news for Buffalo’s football program.
It’s not great. Quarterback Kyle Vantrease (pictured above), the Bulls’ erstwhile starter, is moving on. He announced his decision to leave on social media last night.
Image from @kyle_v07
In five seasons with the Bulls, Vantrease threw for 4,755 yards and 25 touchdowns on 387 of 654 passing, and was intercepted 13 times. Vantrease started every game for the Bulls between Oct. 5, 2019, and Nov. 9 of this season. He led the Bulls to a win against Charlotte in the Bahamas Bowl in 2019, and a year later, helped the Bulls win the MAC East Division championship and the Camellia Bowl in December 2020.
This isn’t a shock, as UB has five other quarterbacks on the roster, including once-and-possibly-future starter Matt Myers and well-regarded Rutgers transfer Cole Snyder.
Vantrease’s departure is bittersweet less because of his anticipated role in 2022 but rather due to the part he played in the revitalization of the Bulls’ program over the past few years. Excluding 2018, in which he wore a redshirt for most of the season, UB went 24-20 with Vantrease on the roster, winning a pair of bowl games.
We wish Kyle well. Based on Twitter chatter, it looks like Indiana’s fans are already pining for him. He’ll turn out alright.
More unsettling than the Vantrease news, perhaps, are some of the other defections we’ve seen in recent weeks.
Other transfer portal announcements have come from Gabe Wallace, a three-star offensive lineman who started 12 games in 2021; Mike Washington, a two-star running back who showed flashes of brilliance behind Dylan McDuffie this season; Chris King, a three-star edge rusher from Queens who didn’t play as a freshman; and Bence Polgar, the Bulls’ starting center.
Since last May—when former coach Lance Leipold bolted for Kansas—UB has lost 16 three-star recruits to the transfer portal. Buffalo’s also shed eight offensive linemen. While it’s way too early to start judging Head Coach Maurice Linguist, who came to the Bulls touted a master recruiter and talent whisperer, it’s hard not to get a little nervous.
Should we panic? No. Should we be concerned? Let’s just say we eagerly await what Coach Linguist has to say about these losses.
UB WOMEN TOO MUCH FOR CENTRAL MICHIGAN IN MAC OPENER
Image from ubbulls.com
UB opened the MAC portion of its season with a win on Wednesday, knocking off visiting Central Michigan, 92-75. While things got a little tight in the third quarter, the Bulls (7-4 overall, 1-0 in Mid-American play) and the foursome of Dyaisha Fair, Summer Hemphill, Dominique Camp (pictured above), and Georgia Woolley were just too much for the Molly Davis and the Chippewas (2-8, 0-1).
University at Buffalo junior guard Dominique Camp tied a program record with 16 assists and Dyaisha Fair and Summer Hemphill combined for 54 points to power the Bulls to a 92-75 win over Central Michigan in the opening game of Mid-American Conference play at Alumni Arena on Wednesday afternoon.
Camp's 16 assists tied the program record set by Stephanie Reid and Ashley Zuber. Hemphill led all scorers, tying a career-high with 28 points to go with seven rebounds. Fair scored 26 points to go with four rebounds, two assists and four steals. Freshman Georgia Woolley reached double figures for the sixth straight game with 14 points and Adebola Adeyeye also scored in double figures with 10 points and six rebounds.
Maybe the end of the year is making me sentimental, but let me say this: watching Dyaisha Fair play basketball is a treat. When she gets rolling, she’s at a different gear than any other player on the court.
Fair leads the list of top UB athletes, according to The UB Spectrum. A smooth jumper and a powerful slasher (she’s now the eighth leading scorer in Division 1 hoops at 21.7 points per game), quick hands on defense, a smart and heady passer—watch these games if you can, you never know how long it will last.
Buffalo’s now 6-0 at Alumni Arena this season, and currently boasts the 32nd-overall scoring offense (77.1 ppg) in the nation. The Bulls’ NCAA NET ranking is 59th—back-to-back road losses to Princeton and Bucknell hurt—and they have a chance to bank that first win on a hostile court tomorrow at Miami (Ohio).
A short scouting report on the RedHawks, courtesy of UBBulls.com:
Miami (OH) enters Saturday's contest with a 4-5 overall record. It will be the first game of MAC play for the RedHawks after their opener against Ohio was postponed due to Covid-19 protocols. The RedHawks are led offensively by Peyton Scott who is averaging 19.3 points and 4.3 assists per game. Ivy Wolf (11.6 ppg, 2.4 apg) is also averaging in double figures. The RedHawks have been solid on the glass to start the season, ranking first in the MAC in offensive rebounds (15.9), second in rebounding margin (5.4) and fifth in total rebounding (40.3).
Game time is 1 p.m. and the contest can be viewed on ESPN3.
Quick note: Summer’s story
Image from ubbulls.com
Check out this solid writeup from Rachel Lenzi of The Buffalo News on sixth-year Buffalo forward/longtime star Summer Hemphill, a Cardinal O’Hara product (she used to play in glasses! Respect) who’s put together a great career with the Bulls.*
Buffalo News digital subscriptions are ridiculously cheap, so grab one if you can. Without getting too preachy, there’s a decent chance TBN as we know it will cease to exist without support, so please, seriously, consider subscribing.
I will share this quote, because it speaks to the reasons why 99.9 of us play, coach, or get involved with basketball, knowing full well it’ll never go farther than maybe (maybe!) a plastic rec league trophy, or a team photo that fades on a bar room shelf:
“The most memorable things aren’t about winning basketball games,” Hemphill said. “It’s the things that happen off the court. The bus rides, the locker room talks, the hotel stays. All those little things that played into us winning basketball games together. Everybody has come from different backgrounds, and that’s a story, in itself. We’ve come together through the game of basketball and we’ve been able to tell our stories, and that’s one of the most memorable parts about being a part of this program. It’s about us building that bond.”
* If you really want to go down a Cardinal O’Hara rabbit hole, here’s more of Lenzi’s work on Niagara twins Angel and Aaliyah Parker and St.Peter’s Nickelle O’Neill—all products of the private Catholic school in Tonawanda.
UB MEN UPSET AT HOME BY DETERMINED REDHAWKS IN MAC TIPOFF
Image from ubbulls.com
Make no mistake: like the Canisius loss, this was a bad one.
With games postponed left and right—Buffalo’s Dec. 21 non-conference closer against UC-Irvine, its Jan. 1 road matchup with Eastern Michigan, and a Jan.4 trip to Northern Illinois are all on indefinite hold, with no guarantee of rescheduling—the Bulls (6-5 overall, 0-1 in the MAC) can’t afford to lose the ones they’re supposed to win, especially at Alumni Arena.
If we end up with a truncated season, this 91-81 defeat—a 10-point home loss!—on Wednesday may come back to bite UB.
Mekhi Lairy had a career-high 28 points as Miami (Ohio) topped Buffalo 91-81 on Wednesday in a Mid-American Conference opener for both teams.
Dae Dae Grant added 23 points with six assists and Dalonte Brown had 17 points and eight rebounds for Miami (7-5). Precious Ayah added 13 points and seven rebounds.
Miami totaled 58 second-half points, a season best for the team.
Josh Mballa (pictured above) had 26 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks for the Bulls (6-5, 0-1). Ronaldo Segu added 21 points and seven assists, and Jeenathan Williams had 20 points.
After taking a seven-point halftime lead, Buffalo was outscored by 17 points in the second half. The Bulls built an 11-point lead early in that second period, then surrendered a 14-4 run to allow Miami to cut the deficit to one.
The visitors wrestled away the lead at 66-64 with 7:17 remaining in the game, and ended the game on a 19-8 run to put away their hosts.
There are mitigating factors, of course. There always are.
Coach Jim Whitesell was out with COVID, perhaps leading to the kind of confusion that results in 17 turnovers.
UB hadn’t played since Dec. 18 due to the UC-Irvine cancellation, leading to cold shooting (38.5% from the floor on 27-for-70 shooting, which was as abysmal to watch as it looks on your screen). The team hadn’t played a home game since Dec. 11.
Still—Buffalo missed 13 free throws, lost points that changed the way the final minutes of the game was played.
From The Buffalo News:
“When we miss shots, we can’t allow their offense to dictate our defense,” said UB assistant Angres Thorpe, who filled in as acting head coach on Wednesday. “It has to be the other way around, where, when we’re turning teams over, we’re really, really good. We’re great in transition, we’re ready to make plays, and to their credit, we weren’t able to turn them over as much as we would like to. Consequently, we turned it over too much against a team that really played more of a half-court, padlocked defense.”
The Bulls have now dropped two in a row and three of five—and one of the two wins in that stretch came over Division 3 St. John Fisher.
Up next: a road trip to Akron tomorrow, a little scheduling sleight-of-hand to make up for the EMU cancellation. The Zips were 9-1 at home last season and got knocked out of the MAC tourney by UB, so don’t expect this trip to be a cakewalk.
Tipoff is 2 p.m. The game can be viewed on ESPN+.
AS MAC BASKETBALL TURNS
A run through the most recent action:
MAC Women’s Basketball
Image from utrockets.com
Toledo 69, Kent State 60. The Rockets (7-3, 1-0) earned a road win over the Golden Flashes (8-2, 0-1) at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center on Dec. 29 on the strength of 14 points and four rebounds from sophomore guard Nan Garcia (pictured above). Fellow sophomore guard Sammi Mikonowicz added 10 points and five boards. Kent State senior guard Hannah Young led all scorers with 16 points.
Akron at Northern Illinois, Western Michigan at Ball State, Ohio at Miami (Ohio), and Bowling Green-Eastern Michigan’s Dec. 29 games were all postponed.
MAC Men’s Basketball
Central Michigan 72, Kent State 69. From ESPN.com: “Harrison Henderson had 18 points as Central Michigan broke its eight-game losing streak (on Dec. 29), edging past Kent State 72-69. Ralph Bissainthe had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Chippewas (2-10). Sincere Carry scored a season-high 22 points for the Golden Flashes (5-6). “
Toledo 83, Western Michigan 56. Not a big surprise here as the Rockets (9-3, 1-0) soared in their home opener against the buckling Broncos (4-8, 0-1). Junior forward J.T. Shumate scored 22 points with 11 rebounds and five assists, while sophomore guard Ryan Rollins added 20 points and five steals. Markeese Hastings ripped 18 boards for WMU in the loss.
Ball State at Northern Illinois and Akron at Bowling Green’s Dec. 29 games were postponed.