Hardwood report card
The Spectrum grades the Bulls week against Kent State and Western Michigan
The men’s basketball team (14-6, 5-3 Mid-American Conference) swept this week’s games, defeating then-MAC-leading Western Michigan 77-71 on Tuesday and MAC East leader Kent State on Friday. Both games were held at Alumni Arena, where the Bulls hold a perfect 8-0 home record this season.
Three-point shooting: B+
After failing to hit a 3-pointer at home since Jan. 14, the Bulls knocked down 10 threes over the last two games. Four different players hit a shot from beyond the arc this week. Senior forward Xavier Ford led the team with four 3-pointers, including three on Friday night. He hit only two over the previous 18 games.
Junior guard Jarryn Skeete hit two threes against Kent State, finishing with three for the week, while sophomore guard Shannon Evans also hit on two of his three attempts against the Golden Flashes.
Foul shooting: A
As a team, the Bulls got to the line 31 times, resulting in over 80 percent from the field. Entering the week, the Bulls were first in the MAC in free throw attempts, makes and percentage. The team remains at the top of all categories.
Freshman guard Lamonte Bearden went 4 of 4 from the charity stripe. He was the only Bulls player to shoot perfect from the line this week.
The Bulls won the rebounding margin against both teams, snagging three more rebounds than Western Michigan, while edging Kent State by five on the glass. Junior forward Justin Moss led the Bulls in rebounds in both games, finishing with 19 rebounds over the two games.
On Friday, the team registered 24 second-chance points off of 18 offensive rebounds, but allowed 17 offensive rebounds for 17 points as well.
Ball Control: B-
The Bulls had 39 assists compared to 17 turnovers. No player recorded over two turnovers in either game, as the Bulls did an excellent job playing clean on the offensive side of the ball.
Buffalo’s guards also did a great job of moving the ball around on offense. The four-guard combination of Evans, Bearden, Skeete and junior guard Rodell Wigginton combined for 30 assists between the two games. Bearden and Evans each finished the week with a team-high nine assists.
Overall Offense: A
The only small blemish for Buffalo was that while finding their stroke from three-point range Friday, the Bulls still finished the week just 10 of 41 from beyond the arc. Other than that, the Bulls played excellent offense, blitzing Kent State and Western Michigan.
The Bulls shot over 46 percent from the floor and over 80 percent from the free-throw line. The front court combination of Ford and Moss was stout on the offensive end for the Bulls, as Moss led the Bulls in scoring against Western Michigan with 23 points, while Ford scored a career-high 25 points against Kent State.
The Bulls went on a 17-2 run after beginning Friday’s game losing 6-0. The team then went on to score 80 points – its third highest total this season.
From the second half of the Western Michigan game to the end of the Kent State game, the Bulls perhaps played the best defense all season.
The starting lineup switch from senior forward Will Regan to Ford gave the Bulls a different look on the defensive end, especially on traps around the perimeter and defending the rim. Junior forward Raheem Johnson finished the week with a team-high four blocks; three of which came in the first 10 minutes of Friday’s game.
The guard play was especially stellar, grabbing 22 steals and forcing 32 total turnovers.
Bench Production: C
Freshmen guards Christian Pino and Bobby Frasco got into the blowout against Kent State, but most of the bench’s production came from the trio of Wigginton, Regan and Johnson.
Wigginton and Regan both provided solid scoring production for the Bulls, but neither scored in double figures in either game. Same for Johnson, but Johnson’s value to the Bulls came more on the defensive end, recording four blocks and three steals off the bench.
Head coach Bobby Hurley did a stellar job this week, pulling out victories over the leaders in both the MAC East and West.
Hurley did a great job of managing his eight-man rotation, finding solid playing time for both his starters and reserves. Along with his rotation, Hurley was successful on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the Bulls had two notable runs – 17-2 against Kent State and 23-6 against Western Michigan – that changed the course of the respective games.