#UBTop10: The top 10 UB sports moments over winter break

Licata wins MVP, Oursler returns in top 10 moments over the break


Even though most students were away from campus, that didn’t stop some of UB’s athletes from shining in their respective sport over winter break. The Spectrum has compiled a list of some of the top moments in UB Athletics that occurred over the winter break.

10. Joanna Smith tallies 20 points seven times in nine games

Last season, junior guard Joanna Smith began making strides on the basketball court. This year, Smith is experiencing a full breakout season, averaging 17.9 points per game. Right before the break, Smith finished with a season-high 26 points in a 57-48 win over Niagara. She would repeat the feat six more times, scoring no fewer than 16 points in a nine-game stretch for the Bulls, including scoring 20 points or more, seven times.

9. Men and women’s track and field finishes third in Albany Great Dane Invite

At the University at Albany, both the Buffalo men and women’s track and field teams finished third in their respective competitions. The men’s team finished with 67.5 team points, while the women’s team finished with 65 team points.

8. Men and women’s tennis kick off seasons

The men’s and women’s tennis teams resumed play over the winter break. The men’s team looked to repeat last season’s success of winning the MAC Championship and making it to the NCAA Tournament, while the women’s team returned with the goal of making it back to MAC Tournament after last season’s loss to Ball State in the MAC Quarterfinals.

The men’s team has gotten off to a 2-2 start, picking up victories over Bryant and Brown. The women’s team played just one game: a 7-0 victory over St. Francis.

7. Cassie Oursler returns for women’s basketball

After transferring from Robert Morris to Buffalo last season, junior center Cassie Oursler couldn’t play for the Bulls until the spring semester due to transfer rules. On Dec. 29, Oursler made her UB debut, giving the Bulls some much needed help in the frontcourt.

Oursler scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in her first game – a 66-53 victory over Sacred Heart. In her eight games this season, Oursler started seven and is currently averaging 8.0 points per game, 7.5 rebounds per game and 1.3 blocks per game.

6. Blake Hamilton scores career-high 22 in win over Miami Ohio

One of head coach Nate Oats’ prized JUCO transfers, junior wing Blake Hamilton provided the Bulls with a bit of everything on the basketball court. Offense, defense, rebounding, passing, size – Hamilton has been a Swiss army knife of talent for the Bulls so far this season.

Against Miami Ohio, it was his scoring that helped the Bulls. Hamilton finished with a season-high 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting, nine rebounds and four assists, as the Bulls knocked off the Redhawks 77-60 in Millett Hall in Oxford, Ohio.

5. Men’s basketball wins first Mid-American Conference game of Oats era

On Friday, Jan. 8, the men’s basketball team defeated Kent State 76-67, giving Oats his first-ever MAC win. The Bulls finished with 52 percent shooting from the field and 47 percent from three. Junior forward Willie Conner finished with 22 points, while sophomore guard Lamonte Bearden finished with 21 points, eight assists and five steals.

4. Joe Licata wins Tropical Bowl MVP

After finishing his career with the all-time passing yards and passing touchdowns mark, former Buffalo quarterback Joe Licata is active in taking his game to the professional level. His first showcase was the Tropical Bowl in Miami, Florida.

Licata won American Team MVP honors for the offense, completing 4 of his 9 passes for 57 yards and one touchdown.

3. Darien Johnson breaks UB’s 60-meter dash record

During Buffalo’s third place finish in the Albany Great Dane Invitational, senior Darien Johnson made history.

Johnson broke the school record for the 60-meter dash, running a 6.75. Johnson broke the record by 0.1 second, topping the 6.76 mark set by Miles Lewis in 2013 and Ryan Billian in 2014. With his run, Johnson qualified for the MAC Tournament in February.

2. Wrestling upsets No. 21 Old Dominion, gets first MAC win since 2013

Head coach John Stutzman has preached patience when discussing his young, but talented, team this year. Last week, his patience began to pay off.

The Bulls defeated No. 21 Old Dominion 19-13 for Buffalo’s first MAC win in more than three calendar years and first win against a ranked opponent since 2010, when the Bulls defeated then No. 12 Nebraska.

1. Khalil Mack makes history, listed on All-Pro team at two positions

Former Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack continues to be a rising star in the NFL – and he’s making history in the process.

Mack made it to his first career Pro Bowl, finished second in the league with 15 sacks and made the All-Pro team – twice. Mack made the All-Pro team as a linebacker and a defensive end. It is the first time a player was ever named to the All-Pro team at two separate positions in the same year.

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