Senior guard Maceo Jack scored 22 points and senior forward Jeenathan Williams added 16 of his own as men’s basketball (12-8, 6-4 MAC) cruised to a dominant 102-64 victory over Eastern Michigan (8-15, 3-9 MAC) Tuesday night at Alumni Arena.
The Bulls outrebounded the Eagles by 22, scored 64 points in the paint and had 25 second-chance points in the decisive 38-point victory.
The win is UB’s second straight and moves them into fifth place in the Mid-American Conference standings.
“If we keep coming out with this same intensity it’s going to be hard for teams to respond to how hard we play and how hard we compete,” Jack said after the massive victory. “We just need to have this intensity translate moving forward.”
The UB frontcourt made its presence felt as redshirt sophomore center David Skogman (15 points, six rebounds), senior forward Josh Mballa (13 points, seven rebounds) and junior forward LaQuill Hardnett (12 points, three rebounds) terrorized the Eagles’ defense in the paint.
UB led for 37:44 (94.3% of the contest), in large part thanks to its transition offense. The Bulls generated 13 turnovers and turned defense into offense with 26 fastbreak points. From wide-open transition three-pointers to multiple alley-oops, UB’s 28 assists were a product of unselfish play and defensive intensity.
“The fun thing for the guys was 28 assists. That’s one of the things you should take pride in,” head coach Jim Whitesell said. “But a lot of that starts with playing good defense. You need to play good ‘D’ and you need to rebound the ball. Those should be our strengths.”
Jack — who threw down a resounding one-handed slam during Saturday’s 74-55 victory over Central Michigan — slammed home another poster dunk on Tuesday, this time a two-handed posterization of EMU freshman center Mo Njie in the second half.
Jack also grabbed nine rebounds and shot 3-of-5 from three-point range. The Eagles had no answer for the Buffalo native’s ability to attack the basket and shoot the long ball.
“Just going in there and being aggressive definitely helped my three-point game open up,” Jack said. “So I think what’s been a big focus for me is just no matter if it goes in or goes out, just be aggressive and things will start coming my way.”
Senior guard Ronaldo Segu uncharacteristically shot just 3-of-13 from the field but still managed to dish out nine assists and grab five rebounds in the winning effort. Redshirt senior guard Keishawn Brewton added eight points on 2-of-6 shooting from deep.
Junior guard Bryce McBride had 12 points while Njie and senior forward Nate Scott each had 11 in a disastrous performance for Eastern Michigan.
Tuesday night’s game was also the first home matchup since the start of the spring semester, which meant the return of the True Blue student section.
Three thousand one hundred forty six fans filled Alumni Arena to watch the Bulls’ dominant victory, and Whitesell was more than happy to have a boisterous student section back in Buffalo.
“It’s like your long lost friend, I want to hug them all,” Whitesell said of the student section. “It was like I wanted to go into the stands and give them all a big hug. When I came out right before the game our kids were really excited. The fanbase was fantastic tonight.”
The Bulls return to action Saturday, Feb. 12 when UB hosts the Ball State Cardinals (11-12, 6-6 MAC) at 2 p.m. at Alumni Arena.
Anthony DeCicco is the senior sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com and @DeCicco42 on Twitter
Anthony DeCicco is the Editor-in-Chief of The Spectrum. His words have appeared in outlets such as SLAM Magazine andSyracuse.com. In 2020, he was awarded First Prize for Sports Column Writing at the Society of Professional Journalists' Region 1 Mark of Excellence Awards. In his free time, he can be found watching ‘90s Knicks games and reading NFL Mock Drafts at 3 a.m.