UB men’s basketball dominated Thursday night with a 111-73 victory against Daemen College during its first and only exhibition game of the season.
The defending conference champs played a strong game to prove their new lineup has the skills to make a big impact this season. The win is Jim Whitesell’s first as the Bulls’ head coach.
UB’s incredible offensive performance shined with six players scoring in double digits.
Senior forward Gabe Grant and senior guard Antwain Johnson, who both sat last season out due to NCAA transfer rules, celebrated their introductory games in style. Grant led the team in scoring with 19 points and Johnson recorded 12 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists for the night and was three for five from beyond the arc.
As for the returners, sophomore forward Jeenathan Williams earned his title as player of the game with 16 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Ronaldo Segu, a sophomore guard, recorded a double-double, 12 points and 14 assists. To top off a great night, his alley-oop pass in the second half to Williams had Alumni Arena in an uproar.
The Bulls also brought high-pressure defense throughout the game. They forced 20 turnovers, which they converted for 32 points. The Bulls also earned 9 blocks and forced Daemen to shoot at only 39% from the field. UB’s defense should be a point of emphasis throughout the season.
For Whitesell, however, their defense was not up to par.
“There were times that I was wondering where our defense was.” he says. “I think there were some good stretches of activity, but they strung us out. We have to do a better job with that.”
Daemen’s Andrew Sischo gave the Bulls the most trouble. He led Daemen with 28 points and 12 rebounds, accounting for over a third of the team’s total points and nearly a third of rebounds for the night.
Players said they see room for improvement before their official season opener.
“Sischo was a handful. He was tough.” Grant said, “[We] just have to work on helping each other. Understanding that we got each other and we don’t have to be locked in on one person.”
One positive thing Whitesell noticed was his team’s high number of assists.
“That’s outstanding because we’re sharing the ball and that’s the way we should play: unselfishly,” Whitesell said.
The game was a promising look into a season with a fresh starting lineup and a new head coach. But with a talented roster of new faces, there is no telling who might step up and be the next powerhouse for the Bulls. Three out of four new additions got on the court to show what they could do.
“These guys don’t worry about who starts, it’s about who finishes,” Whitesell said.
The Bulls will be back in Alumni Arena on Nov. 8 for their season opener against Dartmouth.
Sports desk can be reached at email@example.com.
Myah Gonzalez is an asst. sports editor at The Spectrum.