Hardwood report card
Bulls win two, control destiny in MAC East
The men’s basketball team (19-9, 10-6 Mid-American Conference) went 2-0 this week with victories over Akron (18-11, 9-7 MAC) and Kent State (19-10, 10-6 MAC). The Spectrum graded their performance.
Three-point shooting: C+
The Bulls shot poorly from beyond the arc against Akron (29 percent), but recovered with a 44 percent showing against Kent State. Sophomore guard Shannon Evans hit two threes per game, while junior guard Jarryn Skeete did most of his damage against Kent State, hitting four straight threes in the first 2:24 of Saturday’s game.
Foul Shooting: C
The Bulls had a tough run at the free throw line this week. In their two games, the Bulls shot 57 percent from the line and it could’ve been worse if the Bulls didn’t shoot 73 percent against Kent State on Saturday. Junior forward Justin Moss went 9 of 10 against Akron, but it was freshman guard Lamonte Bearden who led the Bulls this week. Bearden finished with 18 free throw attempts this week, converting on 12.
The Bulls outrebounded their opponents 82-72 this week.
Four players accumulated at least five rebounds each against Kent State, led by senior forward Xavier Ford, who grabbed seven rebounds. Senior forward Will Regan and junior guard Rodell Wigginton both finished with six rebounds.
On Saturday, the Bulls outrebounded the Golden Flashes 37-34, while adding seven more defensive rebounds than Kent State. Moss added a team-high 13 rebounds.
Ball Control: A-
The Bulls had 22 turnovers compared to 19 turnovers this week. Buffalo also forced 25 turnovers on defense. The Bulls were able to operate their offense without many mistakes, while pushing the opponent to turnovers. Evans led the team with five steals, while Moss was able to rack up four steals this week. Ford came in third with three steals – all in Tuesday’s game.
Overall Offense: B
The Bulls won both of their games this week, but had an up-and-down performance on the offensive end. In the Akron game, the Bulls shot just 31 percent from the floor. Moss scored nearly more than a third of Buffalo’s offense that night, finishing with 25 points.
Against Kent State, the offense rebounded well. The team shot 50 percent from the floor and 44 percent from three. The Bulls had three players (Skeete, Evans and Bearden) score in double figures.
Overall Defense: B
Defensively, the Bulls did a good job of fending off opponents. Against Kent State, the Bulls forced eight steals and had one block while holding the Golden Flashes to shooting 37 percent from the field.
Against Akron, the Bulls allowed the Zips to shoot a higher percentage (43 percent), but forced 15 turnovers, four steals and six blocks. The Bulls did a good job of stopping one of Akron’s best offensive players (Jake Kretzer), while holding the Zips to 26 percent from three.
Bench Production: B
It was a solid week for the bench, even if it didn’t show up on the stat sheet.
Wigginton averaged eight points and five rebounds over the two games. He also added three assists and two steals over the week, while playing good defense during his time on the floor. Regan and junior forward Raheem Johnson didn’t score much, but both provided quality defensive play in limited minutes. Regan served as a second ball-handler on the floor, while Johnson gave the Bulls defense off the bench.
Head coach Bobby Hurley had a solid week of coaching en route to back-to-back wins.
Against Akron, Hurley consistently went with a three-guard lineup of Bearden, Evans and Wigginton, which gave the Bulls a bit more length defensively, allowing them to force and capitalize on turnovers. The three-guard lineup, plus Moss on the floor, gave the Bulls the best chance to succeed on the offensive end, while maintaining the defense.
Hurley also led the team to its first four-game winning streak of the season and has held opponents to under 70 points for the fourth straight game.
Quentin Haynes is a sports desk editor and can be reached at email@example.com