Bulls drop final Big 4 game
UB loses to St. Bonaventure 73-62
UB entered Saturday with a chance to sweep the Big 4 but fell short against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies.
The Bulls (4-3) lost 73-62 to the Bonnies (5-2) in front of a crowd of 6,212 at Alumni Arena. Bonnies senior guard Matt Mobley was the best scorer in the contest with a game-high 25 points. Buffalo entered halftime with the lead, 35-32. They were held to just 27 points in the second half, their second lowest scoring output in a half this season.
“That’s one of the things that bothers me the most, because we were in a spot to take the lead or win the game but at that point we failed to score,” said junior guard CJ Massinburg. “They made about three baskets in a row and we didn’t. At that point we were trying to fight back.
The Bulls were within one, 55-54, with 8:39 left but failed to convert a single field goal after that for eight minutes straight. Junior forward Nick Perkins finally hit a three-pointer with 39 seconds remaining but Buffalo was down 66-60 after the basket.
Buffalo had their worst shooting night of the season. They registered season lows in field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and three-point shooting percentage. Massinburg and Perkins both scored 21 points and combined for 46 percent shooting. The rest of the team added 20 points on 24 percent shooting.
“[Perkins and Massinburg] both had 21 [points] and eight [rebounds] tonight but no one else had more than seven [points],” said Bulls head coach Nate Oats. “I think Jeremy [Harris] has to give us close to 15 a game. … He’s still figuring it out and his three-point shot wasn’t dropping tonight.
Harris, a junior guard, entered the game averaging 14.7 per contest and shooting 35 percent from deep. He went 2-of-10 and 1-of-6 from three point range for a total of six points against St. Bonaventure.
The Bonnies led for over 21 minutes in the game, including the final 9:51. Senior guard Jaylen Adams. Adams was ranked 24th in scoring nationally last season and seventh in assists. Saturday was the first game of the season for Adams as he has been injured. He finished with nine points, two assists and four rebounds.
“Having Adams back probably helped them a little bit but you could tell he was still rusty,” Oats said. “That wasn’t the difference, Mobley is the one who destroyed us. We have to get tougher if we’re going to win big games against good teams.”
The Bonnies disrupted the Bulls offense and caused Buffalo to give up 16 turnovers. St. Bonaventure also outrebounded the Bulls by 12, including seven more offensive boards. This was the fifth straight game that the Bulls have been outrebounded.
“We’re not rebounding the ball well enough, we have too many turnovers,” Oats said. “If you look at their second chance points and their points off turnovers, the stat sheet has that at 27 total. ... [I’m] a little disappointed with our effort on the glass, we have to step it up.”
The Big 4 Matchup between two of the top universities in Western New York drew a large crowd. The 6,000-plus in attendance was almost 3,000 more than any other game for the Bulls this season.
“We appreciate all the fans for coming out,” Massinburg said. “That just makes the loss that much worse. … But we appreciate the fans and the support and hopefully next time it’s full like that we can get a win and everybody goes home happy.”
The Bulls are on the road for their next game when they visit the Delaware Blue Hens (4-4) on Wednesday Dec. 6. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. in the Bob Carpenter Center.
Daniel Petruccelli is the sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org