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UB WOMEN TAKE DOWN A GIANT
Bulls drop conference-leading Bowling Green on the road by 18 on the road, and it wasn't even that close
Image from espn+
What can you even say?
Watching the University at Buffalo women’s basketball team stomp Bowling Green (24-4 overall, 13-3 in Mid-American Conference play, 64th in NCAA NET, eighth in the CollegeInsider.com Women’s Mid-Major Top 25), 84-66, on the road on Saturday at the Stroh Center was the highlight of the 2022-23 season.
This team never quits. Coming off four consecutive losses by five points or less, Becky Burke’s Bulls (10-15, 5-11, #236 in NCAA NET) pulled off what must be one of the biggest upsets in Division 1 women’s basketball this season.
“I am so proud and so thankful for those players in that locker room and their ability to handle every adversity thrown their way this year,” Burke told UBBulls.com after the game. “Their fight, their heart has not resulted in wins lately, but this is a special group that has been through so much and they earned this win. To do it on the road, on someone's senior day against one of the top teams in the league shows the heart and resiliency of this group. They did this—they got every rebound, scored every point, they followed the game plan to perfection and again I'm so thankful for the players and coaches in that locker room. We came here wanting to ruin someone's day and I think we did that.”
This game was never close:
UB jumped out to an 8-0 lead two minutes into the game courtesy of six quick points from fifth-year guard Re’Shawna Stone, who’s climbed to 87th in the country in scoring at 16.7 points per game. Stone finished with 23 points and six rebounds on nine-of-14 shooting from the field.
Buffalo took its first double-digit lead, 17-6, at 4:28 of the first quarter on a coast-to-coast layup by sophomore swing Emerita Mashaire following a block in the paint by freshman forward Hattie Ogden. Mashaire had her best game as a Bull, scoring a career-high 16 points, grabbing seven boards, and adding five assists while playing excellent defense against BGSU’s talented front line.
Up 15 at halftime, UB built its first 20-point lead at 6:25 of the third quarter on an Ogden three. Ogden, a 6’2 recruit from Alberta, had 13 points, shot three-of-five from distance, collected two assists and two blocks, and showed once again how her game has grown under Burke’s tutelage—she’s scoring off the dribble, increasingly mobile on both ends of the court, and provides Buffalo with the presence both in the paint and behind the three-point line it’s needed all season. Ogden is shooting 44 percent from three over the last nine games, which coincides with the period when she started seeing consistent double-digit minutes. Over a full season, she’d be top 10 nationally in three-point field goal percentage.
With 3:48 left in the game, Mashaire hit a three to give Buffalo a 28-point lead at 80-52. Burke emptied the bench at this point, which led to a 10-0 BGSU run to make the final score look slightly more respectable.
Image from espn+
All in all, a dominant effort. From UBBulls.com:
Buffalo shot 69.8% from the floor and 62.5% from beyond the arc, both Division I era program records. The 10 made three-pointers ties a season-high for UB and the 84 points scored are the second highest this year. Defensively, in Buffalo's two meetings with Bowling Green, the Bulls held the Falcons to 64 and 66 points. The only team to hold BGSU to fewer points was Indiana, who is currently ranked number two in the nation.
It was a balanced effort offensively as eight Bulls found the scoresheet, including four in double figures, led by graduate guard Re'Shawna Stone who scored a game-high 23 points. Sophomore Emerita Mashaire scored a career-high 16 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists and freshman Hattie Ogden recorded 13 points and six rebounds. Fifth year guard Jazmine Young added 12 points, including eight in the second half and Zakiyah Winfield narrowly missed out on a double-double with nine points and 14 rebounds.
The Bulls dominated the glass, outrebounding Bowling Green 37-21 while also scoring 16 fastbreak points and adding 15 points off BGSU turnovers and 36 in the paint.
Here’s where things stand in the MAC:
Image from getsomemaction.com
The Bulls still have some work to do; losing 10 of the previous 11 will do that. Still, UB gets to end the season with a pair of home games, both against opponents sitting squarely in front of them in the standings:
Akron (176th in NCAA NET) beat Miami, 88-80, on Saturday (which helps Buffalo) after losing six of its last seven. The Zips did take down the Bulls at the JAR, 69-47, on Jan. 28, but are 4-6 away from those friendly confines. UB hosts Akron on Wednesday at 6 p.m. (ESPN+).
Western Michigan (246th in NCAA NET) trounced Ohio, 68-49, in Kalamazoo on Saturday, its first win in five games. The Broncos also beat Buffalo in January, but their star scorer Lauren Ross was still around for that 68-56 WMU home win, which is no longer the case.
Miami’s at Ohio and has Ball State at home. Western Michigan has Central Michigan at home, then the Bulls on the road. Eastern Michigan goes to Northern Illinois Wednesday, and wraps the season at home against Ohio. NIU hosts EMU, then travels to Kent State on Saturday. After the Buffalo game on Wednesday, Akron faces CMU in Mount Pleasant on the weekend.
If the Bulls win out—and even after today, that’s a pretty big if—they’ll still be on the precipice of that eighth seed required to make the MAC playoff tournament in Cleveland. It’s anyone’s guess if they tip into the postseason, or the offseason.
But at least they’re in the hunt. After a brutal 11 months of defections, injuries, absences, weather, and old-fashioned hard luck, that means something.
And—with a monster recruiting class on the horizon—it could be the first step in UB’s return to bully status in the MAC.
Hang in there.
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Disappointed Again: UB Men Waxed at Toledo, 101-71
Image from toledoblade.com
Here’s what the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team has been reduced to this season—a bit player in someone else’s story.
After getting demolished by conference-leading Toledo by 30 points on Saturday—the Bulls’ third 20-plus-point loss in its last four games—that’s about the only way you’re relevant, serving as the punching bag, the milestone, on someone else’s journey.
In so many ways, we are living in a midnight blue and golden age of Toledo men’s basketball.
Game after game, win after win, the Rockets are burrowing further into history.
They did it again Saturday, remaining alone atop the Mid-American Conference with a 101-71 liquidation of Buffalo at Savage Arena.
It was their school-record 13th consecutive league victory and another milepost on the way to a potential third straight outright conference title, a feat unmatched in the modern era, unless you count Cincinnati — an early MAC member — doing so from 1948 to 1951.
Also from Twitter:
RayJ Dennis had 16 points, eight rebounds, and 11 assists — two rebounds shy of a triple-double.
“I told the guys during a timeout, ‘Hey, if RayJ is close, don’t touch the ball,” Toledo coach Tod Kowalczyk said.
And that’s the way it is. At this point, there’s no reason to believe UB (13-16, 7-9, 179th in NCAA NET) is going to pose much of a threat to anyone in the MAC postseason tournament, assuming the Bulls—currently in seventh place overall in the eight-seed playoff race, two games ahead of five-win Miami, Central Michigan, and Eastern Michigan—don’t drift their way out of the 2022-23 season entirely.
In the first half alone, Toledo was 21-for-34 (61.8%) from the floor. This included going 8-of-13 (61.5%) from three-point range. The Bulls were 13-for-31 (41.9%) from the floor and 5-of-16 (31.3%) from three.
On the day, Toledo made 13 more shots from the floor as both teams attempted 66 shots. The Rockets were 39-for-66 (59.1%) as the Bulls were 26-for-66 (39.4%). Off the 25 three-pointers the Bulls attempted, only seven dropped through the netting. Toledo was 13-for-23 (56.5%) overall.
This was just the third time this season that Buffalo drops a contest with a positive assists-to-turnover ratio.
I’m not saying the Bulls are quitting, in the sense that they’re no longer trying, but it’s pretty clear at this point that any sort of in-season teaching, changes to the “fast-paced” tempo that resulted in another 12 turnovers and a boatload of missed shots, or ability to crank up the defensive intensity is a lost cause.
They’ve quit on being anything more than five or six dudes who are just going out there and playing five or six different games.
Even in Tuesday’s win over hapless Central Michigan, UB shot 36.5 percent from the floor, missed 20 threes, and cruised to a 28-point win because the injury-riddled Chippewas were simply lacking D1 talent.
Buffalo’s decided it’s going to run, gun, and do its own thing come hell or high water. Right now, the tide is up to our necks.
The Bulls play Northern Illinois on the road on Tuesday (8 p.m., ESPN+). UB is 2-9 away from home, but NIU is 4-6 as a host. Cross your fingers. Buffalo ends the season on Saturday at Alumni Arena against Miami, a team that’s 5-11 in conference but beat the Bulls in Oxford back in January. The RedHawks’ Mekhi Lairy has scored 20+ points in his last three games against UB.
If the RedHawks beat Western Michigan on Tuesday, they’ll be playing for a spot in the postseason. “Matching the intensity” is not something we’ve seen a lot from Jim Whitesell’s crew this season, or last, for that matter.
We’ll see how it goes.
Horns up, everyone.
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