Hardwood Report Card: Bulls drop games to Toledo and Central Michigan
The men’s basketball team (15-9, 6-6 Mid-American Conference) went 0-2 this week, falling to Toledo 92-88 on Tuesday and losing a heartbreaker to Central Michigan on Saturday, falling to the Broncos by the final score of 75-74.
Three-point shooting: C
In the two games, the Bulls went 11-42, 26 percent, from beyond the arc. In that same two-game run, junior guard Jarryn Skeete caught fire, going 6 of 13 from three. Against Toledo, Skeete hit two of his first three 3-pointers, but went 1 of 5 after. On Saturday, Skeete did the same – going 2 of 3 in the first half, before tailing off (1 of 3) in the second half.
The rest of the team combined for just five made threes over the course of two games, with sophomore guard Shannon Evans hitting two between the two contests.
Foul Shooting: A-
While Buffalo’s 3-point shooting was less than ideal, the Bulls shot well from the charity stripe, hitting 35 of their 44 chances.
Against Toledo, the Bulls got to the line 20 times, with four players getting to the line at least four times. Junior forward Justin Moss got to the line five times, hitting on all five, en route to a 33-point, 10-rebound performance. The trio of Evans, Skeete, and junior guard Rodell Wigginton chipped in with four made free throws apiece.
On Saturday’s game against Central Michigan, the free throw shooting varied between multiple players. Eight different players got to the line. Skeete led the way, hitting all six of his attempts. Moss finished second in both free throw attempts (5) and makes (3) against the Broncos.
The Bulls grabbed 64 rebounds over two games, but only won the rebounding battle against Central Michigan. Against Toledo, the Bulls were outrebounded 32-27. Moss grabbed 10 rebounds against the Rockets, but the next highest rebounders on the team were Skeete and senior forward Will Regan, who had just four.
Against Central Michigan, the Bulls saw senior forward Xavier Ford finish with 13 rebounds and junior center Raheem Johnson grab seven rebounds off the bench, en route to a 37-30 rebounding victory.
The Bulls also did a great job on the offensive glass this week, grabbing 30 offensive rebounds. Moss finished with nine over the two games, while Ford finished strong, tying Moss with nine by grabbing eight against Central Michigan.
Ball Control: B-
The Bulls had 20 turnovers, with most of them coming from Ford. The only blemish on Ford’s 12-point, 13-rebound performance against Central Michigan was his game-high six turnovers. Ford’s six turnovers led the team, as most of the Bulls’ turnovers this week came in the Central Michigan game.
Against Toledo, the Bulls controlled the ball well, committing only seven turnovers. However, five of those seven were steals by the Rockets.
Overall offense: A
162 points between two games with zero wins. Something was wrong this week, but it wasn’t the offense.
Against Toledo, the Bulls had three starters score in double figures. Ford led the way with 33 points. Evans scored 17 points and chipped in four assists, while Skeete dropped 13 points. Even the bench produced well on offense, led by Wigginton’s 10 points. Evans and freshman guard Lamonte Bearden also did a great job of finding open scorers, finishing with nine combined assists.
Against Central Michigan, the Bulls once again had four players in double figures, with two players off the bench – Johnson and Bearden- scoring six points apiece. 15 assists on 25 made baskets were also great, as Bearden and Wigginton did a good job moving the ball around and getting it to open scorers.
The Bulls played two really bad defensive games this week. Ultimately, it was their inability to stop the ball from going into the basket this week that resulted in them failing to pick up a victory.
Against Toledo, the Bulls couldn’t do anything to stop the Rockets from beyond the arc. Not only did Toledo go 12 of 14 from three, but from the 8:52 mark to the 3:12 mark in the second half, the Rockets converted on eight consecutive field goals and scored on nine of ten possessions in that timespan.
In that five minute run, the Bulls were outscored by seven points, 21-13, as the Bulls went on to lose by seven.
Against Central Michigan, things were going great in the first half. The Bulls held them to just 38 percent shooting from the field and just one made 3-pointer.
Then, the Bulls’ defense imploded in the second half.
Central Michigan went for 43 points in the second half, shot 61 percent in the second half and 50 percent from beyond the arc. Central Michigan’s Josh Kozinski went off for 15 points in the second half, helping the Chippewas turn a 12-point deficit at halftime into a one-point victory.
Bench Production: C
Against Toledo, Wigginton scored 10 points and played well on the defensive end, grabbing three steals. Regan added four points and four rebounds off the bench, and Raheem Johnson failed to register a point, block, or rebound, but played well defensively in his seven minutes.
Against Central Michigan, we saw a surprise change in the starting lineup, resulting in Bearden joining the bench, while Wigginton joined the starting five. The trio of Bearden, Johnson and Regan combined for 14 points, but just two points in the second half.
Head coach Bobby Hurley lost both of his games this week, but there was nothing that stood out that was good or bad from a coaching perspective, and thus, he receives an average grade.
Against Toledo, Hurley received a technical foul 51 seconds into the game. Other than that, Hurley did a good job with the rotation, even though the Bulls got torched from beyond the arc.
Hurley kept his standard rotation despite the team giving up 43 points in the second half. Bearden got 12 minutes in the second half, but Johnson and Regan combined for just eight in the second half.
The swap of Bearden and Wigginton is also a curious one, and will be watched moving forward.