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UB MEN RIDE SCORCHING SECOND HALF TO 12-POINT WIN OVER BUSTED BRONCOS
Plus: David Skogman, smart guy; Dyaisha Fair looms large in WNY hoops history
Image from wmubroncos.com
For one half, the local ESPN3 broadcasting duo of Evan Stockton and Wayne Hinton were really, really excited about Western Michigan’s chances of pulling off a home upset over visiting Buffalo on Tuesday night.
Their palpable glee bubbled over despite the fact the Broncos (4-11 overall, 0-4 in Mid-American Conference play) entered the game losers of four straight, had dropped three in a row in MAC play, were beaten those three conference games by an average of 12 points, played without their leading scorer, Lamar Norman, Jr. (sidelined mysteriously moments before tipoff), while the Bulls (8-6 overall, 2-2 in the MAC) were bringing back star forward Josh Mballa, and key reserve Tra’Von Fagan (deep breath)…
….but who could blame them? The UB men had a rough 20-minute start in Kalamazoo, falling behind by as many as 10 points to a WMU squad that’s among the worst in Division 1 basketball.
Buffalo shot 31% from the floor, 14% from three, and 60% from the free throw line—that’ll put you in a hole against any team—before finally flipping the switch.
And flip the switch they did. Buffalo roared back in the second half, shooting a toasty 68% from the field and turned a 34-33 halftime deficit into a relatively comfortable 78-64 win.
Credit the experienced squad for not panicking when they fell behind, but rather steeling themselves to stay the course. This was evident with no player more than Ronaldo Segu. He was calm handling the ball as usual, and led the early stages of the climb back, setting a tone. He has really become the emotional leader of the team and has improved at picking his spots to assert himself when the team needs him to. He finished with 17 points on only 8 shots and no turnovers, in 34 minutes.
Another recent trend was turned on its ear, as the Bulls second half defense was exceptional, allowing only 30 points, and only 15 over the last 13 minutes. Keishawn Brewton was integral with 5 steals. Adding 12 points, 4 boards, 2 assists and a block in 29 minutes, this would have to rate as his best game as a Bull. It was notable that he remained in the starting lineup after the return of Mballa, and that he logged more minutes than Maceo Jack. This pt split bears monitoring going forward, but improved performance, whether in the lineup or off of the bench, from Brewton is hugely welcome in the backcourt.
Segu’s 17 points were the game high. Sophomore forward David Skogman, fresh off his 20-point, 15-board performance against Bowling Green on Jan. 5, posted his second double-double in a row with 14 points (including nine in the second half) and a team-leading 11 rebounds.
Jeenathan Williams, the Bulls high-scoring forward (18.2 points per game this season), struggled his way to 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting. Mballa added an efficient 13 points in 22 minutes.
Up next for UB: a visit to the Magic City—not Miami!—a.k.a Muncie, Indiana, to face Ball State (7-8, 2-2) on Friday. The Cardinals, under the watchful eye of the third-winningest head coach in program history, James Whitford, are 269th in the NCAA NET rankings (Buffalo is 120th) and 253rd in Ken Pomeroy’s rating system (the Bulls are 107th).
Game time is 7 p.m. The contest can be viewed on CBS Sports Network.
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DAVID SKOGMAN: BOOK SMART
Image from ubbulls.com
Our man Skogman (pictured above) isn’t just a tall Wisconsinite with three-point range, gang. No, the sophomore stretch four whose game has blossomed in the new year can probably do your taxes, too—Skogman, an accounting major with a 3.6 average, is now the reigning MAC Scholar Athlete of the Week.
UBBulls.com reports “…the Scholar Athlete of the Week Award is presented to a MAC male and/or female student-athlete who has a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better and performs well during that week's competition.”
And perform well he did! When Skogman dropped 20 and 15 on BGSU, he became the only player since 2010 to be perfect from the field, from three, and the free throw line while scoring 20 points and grabbing a minimum of 15 boards. And we’re not talking about the Management Advisory Services board exam, either, although he’d probably ace that thing, too.
DYAISHA FAIR EARNS MAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD (AGAIN), GETS THE LENZI TREATMENT
Image from ubbulls.com
It feels like forever since the UB women’s basketball team last played (it’s been a week), but one member of the team is still making headlines: star guard Dyaisha Fair (pictured above) earned the MAC Player of the Week award for her 40-point explosion in an 82-66 win over Bowling Green on Jan. 5, and she was the lead subject of a lengthy profile on Big 4 40-point scorers in The Buffalo News by beat writer Rachel Lenzi on Wednesday.
University at Buffalo women's basketball junior guard Dyaisha Fair was named the Mid-American Conference Player of the Week for the second straight week, the league announced on Tuesday.
Fair scored a career-high 40 points on a career-high 14 made field goals, while also shooting 6-of-10 from behind the arc, to go with three rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead Buffalo to a big road win at Bowling Green on Wednesday. Her 40 points are the fifth-most scored in a single game in Division I women's basketball this season and ranks second in program history.
The Rochester, NY native leads the MAC and ranks fourth in the nation in scoring (23.6 ppg) while also ranking in the top 10 in total points (307), field goals made (109), three-point field goals made (43), three-point field goals made per game (3.3). On Sunday, she was named to the NCAA women's basketball mid-season starting five and is the only mid-major player on the list.
“It’s another brick in my wall that I’m building, in my steps to get to where I want to be,” Fair told Lenzi. “The more I accomplish, the more my team will get the residuals.”
Fair and the Buffalo women are back in action—following a pair of COVID-related postponements—against Western Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. in Alumni Arena. The game can be viewed on ESPN3.
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