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The edge: Buffalo vs. St. Bonaventure

A matchup preview for the Bulls men’s basketball game on Saturday

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The men’s basketball team is hoping to make the jump into the elite category of MAC teams. Predicted to win the MAC East, the team has already picked up some hard fought games.

The Bulls continue their season Saturday at home when they take on St. Bonaventure. Like the Bulls (4-2, 0-0), the Bonnies (3-2, 0-0) run a three-guard attack. They will match up well against the Bulls and challenge them throughout during a high scoring, fast pace affair.

The Bulls need to win handily on Saturday to elevate their status as an upper echelon team. The game against the Bonnies will feature a lot of points with little defensive pressure. Here is The Spectrum’s pre-game analysis.

Center: N/A

Both the Bulls and Bonnies feature starting lineups with three guards and two forwards. Even more unorthodox, both teams have players that play both positions, but are better suited being featured as forwards. The center position will be addressed when the reserves step-foot in the game.

Forwards: Buffalo

Junior Nick Perkins has been an absolute force this season for the Bulls and averages 17.4 points per game with a season high 26 against Canisius College. He has continued to anchor the Bulls offense all season with a mix of inside-outside balls for the Bulls.

Junior Montell McRae hasn’t put up big numbers for the Bulls but they do not need McRae to put up buckets for him to be effective.

For the Bonnies, they are nothing to look past in the frontcourt. They feature two players who share a similar load on the offensive side of the ball. Junior LaDarien Griffin and sophomore Josh Ayeni have each taken turns putting up big numbers.

This is a difficult matchup, as both teams have forwards with the potential to score in double digits.

Guards: Buffalo

Despite the Bulls having three high level guards, the Bonnies senior guard Matt Mobley is a strong offensive player.

The Bulls have been consistent in guard play. Two parts of their three guard attack consist of junior transfer Jeremy Harris and junior CJ Massinburg. Sophomore Davonta Jordan has been inconsistent, failing to score against University of Cincinnati (7-0, 0-0) but had 16 points in the game against the South Dakota State.

Massinburg has been a strong scorer for the Bulls, with a season high 29 points against Cincinnati. Harris has been the most consistent of the guards, scoring in double digits in all but one game for the Bulls.

Mobley, who had a season high 29 points against Niagara University (3-4, 0-0), has started all but one game for the Bonnies. Even coming off the bench, he scored 16 points against the University of Maryland (6-2, 0-0). If the Bulls can’t find a way to slow Mobley down, he has the skill to carry the Bonnies to a win.

The other two starting guards for the Bonnies have been underwhelming, senior Idris Taqqee and junior Nelson Kaputo have not given Mobley much scoring support. This will hurt the Bonnies chances in keeping up with a high paced Bulls offensive attack.

Coaches: Buffalo

Despite Mark Schmidt’s pedigree, Bulls’ head coach Nate Oats has MAC championship success in his first three seasons. Leading the Bulls to two NCAA tournament appearances in his first three seasons. Although the Bulls regressed slightly last season, Oats has the team to beat this year. With Oats’ early career successes, he has the Bulls primed to compete all season and post-season.

Mark Schmidt has been a head coach since 2001, starting out at Robert Morris University and then in 2007 transitioning to St. Bonaventure. As the Bonnies head coach, Schmidt has surpassed all but one of his predecessors in total wins. Schmidt continues to run a dangerous offense that will give teams trouble all season.

Bench: St. Bonaventure

This season, the Bonnies have had three bench players amass over 15 points in a game. Junior guard Courtney Stockard, freshman forward Tshiefu Ngalakulondi and freshman guard Izaiah Brockington. The Bonnies have a dangerous advantage in three players on the bench who can all potentially score quickly.

Red-shirt freshman Brock Bertram is the lone center on the roster for the Bulls and he is hard to miss. Standing at almost seven feet and weighing 250 pounds, Bertram is a strong rebounder and is a tough matchup because of his size. Off the bench he gives the Bulls a fresh look in the frontcourt. Another freshman, Jayvon Graves, has been electric at times off the bench for the Bulls acting like a microwave scorer. If Graves can get going off the bench, it will be hard for the Bonnies to maintain the scoring pace.

Sports desk can be contacted at sports@ubspectrum.com.


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