Men’s basketball started off the regular season with a 68-63 loss on Friday night against Dartmouth (1-0).
The Bulls played an unorganized game throughout and made it clear it was early in the season. The defending MAC champions gave up turnovers and missed shots throughout, as they didn’t look like a team that was comfortable on the court yet.
Dartmouth held the lead throughout the game with as much as a 17-point difference in the second half.
Both defenses were strong in the first half with neither side putting up a lot of points. But Dartmouth capitalized on UB’s mistakes.
“Defensively, we had good ball pressure and then we tried to gamble a lot. That was undisciplined of us and they made us pay for it.” said head coach Jim Whitesell.
Friday was Whitesell’s first official game as head coach of the Bulls.
Sophomore guard Ronaldo Segu tried to set the tone defensively for the Bulls as he played intense perimeter defense throughout the contest. He scored 5 points, 3 assists and 1 rebound for the night.
The Bulls struggled on offense overall, particularly in the first half, where they shot at just 28.6%.
Senior guard Davonta Jordan still led the Bulls in scoring with 17 points and shot 50% from the field and 44% from three. He also earned 3 assists.
Sophomore forward Josh Mballa grabbed a team-high 9 rebounds while scoring 10 points, nearly earning a double-double.
Mballa transferred from Texas-Tech with the hopes of earning more playing time. He spent 28 minutes on the court in this first official game with the Bulls. But he didn’t enjoy his debut too much.
“It felt good but this is just not the result we wanted,” Mballa said.
Junior guard Jayvon Graves struggled in the first half with only 5 points.
Graves picked it up in the second half and shot a consistent 55%, ending the game with 15 points. Graves also earned 8 rebounds.
Buffalo shot 42% in the second half, but their scoring efforts were too late.
The key stat for the Bulls in their loss was their free-throw percentage, as the Bulls shot 38.5% behind the line. UB left too many free points on the table to have a chance of winning the game.
The Bulls also had a hard time passing the ball. They ended with only 14 assists and 16 turnovers.
The Bulls closed the gap late in the game and had the 3,300 fans in attendance watching in anticipation. The score got as close as 60-61 but UB never pulled ahead.
“We got stagnant with the ball, we just didn’t pass it enough,” Whitesell said. “We missed out on a lot of opportunities for guys that were open.”
The Bulls will be looking for their first win back at Alumni Arena on Monday Nov. 11 against the Nazareth Golden Eagles (0-0).
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Myah Gonzalez is an asst. sports editor at The Spectrum.
Anthony DeCicco is the senior sports editor for The Spectrum. In his free time, he can be found playing video games, watching ‘90s Knicks games and arguing with people on NBA Twitter at 3 a.m.