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UB WOMEN FALL BEHIND EARLY, CAN'T QUITE CATCH BUCKNELL
Tonight's men's basketball game is postponed. Guess why.
BISON BEAT BULLS OFF THE STARTING LINE: UB WOMEN FALL TO BUCKNELL, 80-69
Image from bucknellbison.com
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Spot any team a 23-point lead and you’re probably in trouble. And while the UB women’s basketball team entered its game Monday at Bucknell ranked 44th in the NCAA NET ranking—a significant leap above the Patriot League’s Bison, who came in ranked 106th—climbing out of that kind of hole is hard to do against any team.
The Bulls (6-4) gave it the old college try, but fell, 80-69, in their final non-conference test before the holiday break and the looming Mid-American Conference slate.
The Bison opened the game on a 15-4 run before Jazmine Young hit a corner three to cut the lead to 15-7 at the first media timeout. The UB offense continued to struggle as they shot just 5-of-19 from the floor in the opening quarter and Bucknell took advantage as they had 11 assists on 11 made field goals to take a 29-13 lead at the end of the first.
Bucknell extended their lead to 23 early in the second quarter before the Bulls used a 10-2 run, capped by a Woolley spot up triple, to cut the lead to 38-23 at the 4:32 mark. Both offenses stalled a bit coming out of the media timeout before Fair hit a triple from the top of the key to cut the lead to 41-26 but the Bison answered with a basket on the other end to take a 43-26 lead at the half.
The Bison sliced up Buffalo’s zone defense with smooth interior passing and dominant play in the paint. Bucknell recorded 15 assists on 17 field goals in the first half, and 6’1 junior forward Carly Krsul—who finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds—came off the bench to record a double-double by halftime.
That’s not how you want to start a game! For the second time in six days, UB was forced to scramble to overcome a double-digit first-half deficit.
More from UBBulls.com:
(Sophomore guard Dyaisha) Fair opened the third quarter with back-to-back threes to spark an 8-2 run and cut the lead to 10. The teams then traded baskets before a transition jumper from Cheyenne McEvans cut the Bison lead to 54-45 at the 3:53 mark. (Freshman guard Georgia) Woolley provided a huge spark for the Bulls in the final two minutes as she scored nine straight points, including triple at the buzzer, to cut the Bucknell lead to 61-55 at the end of the third.
Woolley continued to heat up as she knocked down a mid-range jumper to trim the lead to five early in the fourth quarter, but Bucknell responded with a 6-0 run to take a 67-57 lead and force a UB timeout at the 6:51 mark. The teams went back-and-forth before Woolley knocked down her fourth three of the game to cut the lead to 74-67 at the 1:38 mark. Later, (junior guard Dominique) Camp found (redshirt senior forward Summer) Hemphill in mid-air for a quick bucket off an inbounds play to cut the Bucknell lead to 79-69 with 36.5 seconds to go but that would be as close as they would get.
“They’re probably the second best team we’ve seen, outside of Ohio State,” Bucknell head coach Trevor Woodruff said after the game. The Buckeyes are ranked 18th in the NCAA NET, and 24th in the AP poll. “We just tried to frame it for the team as an opportunity—an opportunity to get a big win. It’s hard to get a big win. You can win games, but to beat somebody that—most folks probably look around and say they’re better than you—that’s hard to do.”
Woolley (22 points, 11 rebounds) and Hemphill (15 points, 13 rebounds) each had double-doubles, the first of Woolley’s career and Hemphill’s fourth of the season. Fair also scored 20 points, and is now 10th in the nation in scoring with 21.3 points per game.
The victory was the Bison’s eighth in a row, and Woodruff admitted—in a slightly roundabout manner—that his squad was hungry to prove themselves against the 12th-ranked team in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll.
“In general, I fully believe it makes zero difference, but I do believe that if you can use it for motivational purposes, you do,” Woodruff said. “There’s a lot of psychology in the game. So there’s some computer out there somewhere saying that we’re this, and they’re that—and while it doesn’t matter, and it didn’t have anything, probably, to do with the outcome of the game, our players knew they were ranked 44th in the country. I made sure they knew. Does it matter? I don’t know. Did we talk about it? Sure.”
I believe that’s called “obfuscating.” Regardless, the loss was Buffalo’s second straight, and its second consecutive road loss, after winning five in a row.
The Bulls are 5-0 at home, and 1-4 on the road, although the average NET ranking of the opponents in those four losses away from Alumni Arena is 41st, including #1 South Carolina. UB fell to 50th in the NET in defeat.
UP NEXT: Christmas, then MACtion. Buffalo’s Alumni Arena will host a doubleheader on Wednesday, Dec. 29 beginning at 1 p.m. when the women face MAC rival Central Michigan. The men take on Miami (Ohio) at 4 p.m. Both games will be on ESPN3.
NO ANTEATERS TONIGHT: MEN’S HOME GAME AGAINST UC-IRVINE POSTPONED
Folks, we’re in a pandemic. These things happen.
Due COVID-19 protocols within the UC Irvine program and with an abundance of caution in mind for the health and safety of the student-athletes, tomorrow's men's basketball game against the Anteaters has been postponed. Efforts will be made by both programs to reschedule this game for later this season and fans should hold on to their tickets.
Perhaps you can amuse yourself instead with WIVB.com’s profile of Ronaldo Segu by longtime Buffalo News sourpuss Jerry Sullivan.
MONIKA IS GOING HOME
Image from @lucia.michalovicova
Some good news for the holidays via the UB athletic community. From The Buffalo News:
Monika Simkova’s recovery made a giant move forward this week, just in time for the Christmas holiday.
Her older sister, Lucia Michalovicova, announced Tuesday that Simkova, a University at Buffalo volleyball player, has been released from Buffalo General Medical Center. Simkova's departure from the hospital comes more than four and a half months after she was admitted in August, due to a bacterial infection that resulted in Simkova undergoing a bilateral amputation of her legs above the knees.
Michalovicova posted a quick update on the GoFundMe page set up in September for her sister, along with two photos of Simkova leaving the hospital, including one in which Simkova is flashing the "Horns Up" gesture with her right hand. The UB volleyball Twitter page also shared the photos.
There’s a lot more information and some pretty heart-rending photos on Lucia’s Instagram page, which is worth checking out. Please consider donating to the #One4Mon GoFundMe for Monika to help cover the costs of what is surely a difficult financial situation, on top of everything else, for the family.
I think that’s it for today—thanks for reading.