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St. Joseph’s defeats UB Bulls 89-67

Buffalo drops second straight game

bearden

One is a blip, twice is a trend.

For the second straight game, the Buffalo men’s basketball team fell into a double-digit hole heading into halftime. For the second straight game, it couldn’t pull itself out of it.

On Wednesday, the Bulls (1-2) fell to St. Joseph’s (3-0) 89-67 at Hagan Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Bulls are now 0-2 in the 2015 Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic, with two losses to St. Joseph’s and Old Dominion (3-0) in which it allowed 166 points.

Head coach Nate Oats was unavailable for the post game press conference. Associate head coach Jim Whitesell said between the last two losses, he’s seen “progress” from game to game.

“We had some good shots,” Whitesell said. “We had some good threes and just missed. We needed to keep working it and keep working it.”

Both the Bulls and Hawks got off to slow starts, missing 11 of their first combined 15 shots before the first media timeout. St Joseph’s would then go on a 19-0 run after the timeout to take a 21-5 lead and putting Buffalo in another first half hole.

Buffalo trailed 48-26 at halftime. But in the second half, Buffalo’s offense looked better and began to break into St. Joseph’s lead. The Buffalo cut the lead to 12 points after an 11-2 run before the Hawks called a timeout. St. Joseph’s would go to score on three straight possessions to avoid a collapse and leave with a victory.

“I think mentally we were much sharper and mentally we were much better,” Whitesell said. “We didn’t do the nonsense stuff we did at ODU and avoided getting frustrated. I think today we were more competitive in the second half and today taught us that we have to be more complete and every possession was more complete. Everyone on this level plays complete.”

Fouls once again plagued Buffalo. After a 30-foul performance against Old Dominion on Monday, Buffalo recorded 21 fouls Wednesday. Freshman forward Ikenna Smart, who fouled out of the Bulls’ first two games, recorded his first of four fouls on the first offensive possession of the game. Smart finished with six points and four rebounds in just 12 minutes played.

Junior forward David Kadiri and junior wing Blake Hamilton also record four fouls.

Buffalo played eight players who are either freshmen or junior college transfers Wednesday night. Whitesell acknowledged the struggles of two freshmen after the game, in guard CJ Massinburg and forward Nick Perkins. Massinburg finished with zero points on 0-of-4 shooting while Perkins scored five points on 2-of-7 shooting.

“With C.J. and Nick, they’re finding out it’s not high school and our junior college guys too,” Whitesell said.

Sophomore guard Lamonte Bearden had 13 points on 2-of-12 shooting and zero assists while coming off the bench. Hamilton led the Bulls in scoring (14) and rebounds (seven). 

“We were very impatient, took the first shot that looked very good,” Whitesell said. “We missed, and they got some easy run outs. Suddenly, we’re not good on either side of the ball. When you get beat, you have to get your base and go back out there.”

The Bulls will travel to Uncasville, Connecticut to face North Carolina A&T (0-3) in the third game of the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Quentin Haynes is the co-senior sports editor and can be reached at quentin.haynes@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on twitter at @Haynes_Spectrum.


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