UB basketball Buffalo defeats Daemen 87-82
Bulls squeak out win as they hang MAC Championship banner
For the second straight year the Buffalo Bulls men’s basketball team began their season by unveiling a MAC Championship banner. The rest of the night, however, hardly went as planned for the Bulls.
Buffalo pulled out a close overtime win, 87-82, against the Daemen College Wildcats in an exhibition match Friday night. Bulls sophomore guard CJ Massinburg finished with a game-high 27 points as well as seven rebounds and five assists. After jumping out to a nine-point lead in the first ten minutes, things almost unraveled for Buffalo.
“Awful,” said Bulls head coach Nate Oats. “Guys didn’t show up to play. We had, to me, an average week of practice leading into it, guys don’t take the game seriously enough. We had guys that should have been starters that for whatever various reasons, didn’t start the game out and then when they came in they weren’t really ready to play, we had some guys that were given opportunity to get some quality minutes that didn’t take advantage.”
Buffalo is a division ahead of Daemen but couldn’t gain separation from their Division-II opponent.
The Bulls also couldn’t capitalize on their 18-9 first-half lead and went into halftime up only one, 31-30. The Bulls turned the ball over 11 times in the first half. Buffalo’s ball control issues remained in the second half and they finished the game with 20 turnovers total.
Daemen eventually took advantage and gained their first lead with 14:13 remaining in the game. Freshman forward Jeff Redband led the Wildcats with 22 points in the game. He shot 6-of-11 from three-point range. Daemen was bombs away all night from distance, attempting 33 three-pointers in the game and converting them at a 36.4 percent clip.
“We gotta give credit to Daemen,” Oates said. “Daemen’s very well coached, the style they play makes it a lot more apt that they can pull some upsets off with how many threes they shoot and then they make your bigs come out and guard the perimeter, and our bigs didn’t do a very good job of it.”
The lead changed four times in the second half and both teams put together runs. UB took the lead with 1:30 left when Massinburg hit a layup while being fouled and converted the and-one to put the Bulls up 70-69.
Senior wing Willie Conner made a layup of his own to give Buffalo a three-point lead. But Redband hit a clutch three with 26 seconds remaining in the game to send it to overtime.
There were two quick lead changes to begin the overtime period before Buffalo took control. Sophomore forward Nick Perkins came up huge for the Bulls late. He finished overtime with eight points, including a three-point play on a dunk where he was fouled, that gave the Bulls a four point lead. He finished the game with 25 points and eight rebounds.
“That says a lot about the team,” Massinburg said. “That shows that we can fight, that shows that if things aren’t going our way… we can pick our heads up when it’s down, we didn’t cave in. Because Daemen hit a lot of threes, they hit a late three we didn’t cave in, we kept pushing and came out with the win.”
The Bulls defense was their biggest issue in the game. While they lead the Wildcats in rebounds and blocks, they only managed four steals.
“Giving up 80 something points to a Division-II, that’s the main thing we need to work on, is our defense,” Massinburg said.
Buffalo visits the Niagara Purple Eagles in the regular season opener next Friday. Tipoff is at 8 p.m.
Daniel Petruccelli is a sports staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org