Postgame video: UB 80, Drexel 70

By Nick Veronica

UB players Lamonte Bearden, Jarryn Skeete, Shannon Evans

The players were pretty loose after the win. Skeete was more worried about getting Rodell Wigginton’s alley-oop on SportsCenter. Bearden and Evans had eight assists. Skeete had 14 points.

UB coach Bobby Hurley

Hurley enjoyed having all three guards contribute in various ways and liked how his team defended Drexel’s Damion Lee. He also said Xavier Ford is fully cleared following his concussion.

Drexel coach Bruiser Flint did not meet with the media.


Immediate reactions: UB 80, Drexel 70

Drexel 32 38 — 70
UB 38 42 — 80

By Nick Veronica

How it happened: UB led most of the first half and seemed to be on the brink of pulling away nearly the entire night. The Bulls were finally able to maintain some separation late in the second half and led by 10 points or more from 6:59 remaining until the final 15 seconds. Justin Moss led the team with 16 points while five Bulls scored in double figures. Jarryn Skeete had 14, Xavier Ford and Rodell Wigginton had 12 and Lamonte Bearden had 11. Rebounds were 39-36 UB. Drexel’s Damion Lee led all players with 24 points.

What it means: UB goes to 6-2 for the first time since 2011-12 and Bobby Hurley picks up the 25th win of his head coaching career. Drexel drops to 2-7.

No place like home: Tuesday’s contest was UB’s first true home game since the season opener on Nov. 14, thanks to the snowstorm that caused a postponed of the Montana State game on Nov. 21. The Bulls went 4-2 on the extended road trip and are now 2-0 at Alumni Arena.

Dimes all around: Shannon Evans and Lamonte Bearden had eight assists each, which set a career high for Bearden and matched Evans’ career best.

Lee gets his points: Drexel’s Damion Lee entered the game averaging 20.3 points per game, good for 19th nationally. He finished with 24 points on 9-of-21 shooting Tuesday but scored many of his points late in the game when victory was out of reach. UB coach Bobby Hurley started with Jarryn Skeete on Lee and then switched to Wigginton midway through the first half. They limited Lee 2 of 10 from three-point range.

Ford strong in return: Junior forward Xavier Ford scored 12 points in 17 minutes in his first game back from a concussion. He suffered the injury in the Big 4 Doubleheader against Canisius in late November and missed the last two games. Ford also had six rebounds.

Game line: After writing Tuesday morning that the line was UB -9.5, it dropped to UB -7.5 by game time. UB covered.

Starters: UB – Lamonte Bearden, Shannon Evans, Jarryn Skeete, Will Regan, Justin Moss. Drexel – Tavon Allen, Rashann London, Damion Lee, Mohammed Bah, Rodney Williams.

Next: UB completes its Big 4 schedule with a home game against Niagara at 7 p.m. Friday.


Gameday: UB vs. Drexel — 12/16/14

UB Bulls vs. Drexel Dragons, 7 p.m., Alumni Arena

By Nick Veronica

UB Bulls: 5-2 overall, 1-0 home. RPI: 21. KenPom: 98.

Drexel Dragons: 2-6 overall, 0-1 road. RPI: 184 KenPom: 168.

Vegas line: UB -9.5.

What’s at stake: UB looks to get to 6-2 for the first time since 2011-12 and improve its impressive RPI ranking Tuesday in a nonconference game against Drexel.

Last time out: Justin Moss had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead UB to a 74-56 win over Robert Morris on Dec. 7. Drexel lost to Philadelphia rival La Salle on Saturday, 66-55.

Home sweet home: Tonight marks UB’s first game on its home court since the season opener against South Dakota State on Nov. 14. The Bulls went 4-2 on their extended road trip, which included a game at No. 1 Kentucky, a game against Canisius at the First Niagara Center, and a home game against Montana State that was cancelled due to snow.

Players to watch: UB is led by forward Justin Moss, who’s averaging a double-double at 16.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Guard Shannon Evans adds 15.1 points a night and leads the team at 4.4 assists per game. Freshman point guard Lamonte Bearden is also fun to watch. The list wouldn’t be complete without including Drexel’s Damion Lee, who you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on, but more on him in the next item.

About Drexel: The Dragons are having a tough year. They’re 2-6 and they lost to the Division II school two miles down the street earlier this month. What they do have going for them is Damion Lee. The 6-foot-6 junior swingman is 19th in the country in scoring at 20.3 points per game. He hits 42.2 percent of his field goals — including 46.2 percent of three-pointers — and rarely sits, playing all 40 minutes in three of the last five games.

Drexel is led by 14th-year coach James Flint, who goes by his nickname, Bruiser. That loss to D-II University of the Sciences was only part of a rough week for him.

Wild card: A win would be Bobby Hurley’s 25th head coaching victory. He is 24-12 since taking over the program last year.

How to follow the game: Go to it / Listen on AM 1520 / Follow along on Twitter

Check back for reactions after the final buzzer.

Canisius smoked by UMass, 75-58

By Nick Veronica

Canisius struggled in all phases of the game Saturday in a 75-58 road loss to UMass, falling to 4-4 on the year.

CCLogobigThe Griffs trailed by 25 points at halftime, 46-21, and as many as 27 in the game while allowing the Minutemen to shoot 50 percent from the floor (25 for 50). Canisius was outrebounded 38-28 and committed 24 fouls, which matches a season-high.

Zach Lewis led the Griffs with 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting, which will actually help his season shooting percentage. Josiah Heath scored 10 and added four rebounds, three steals and two assists. Phil Valenti had six points and five assists before fouling out.

UMass senior forward Maxie Esho had 20 points and nine rebounds — both game highs — while playing just 26 minutes. Center Cady Lalanne added 16 points and eight boards for the Minutemen, who have also beaten MAAC foes Manhattan and Siena.

UMass (6-4) was a six-seed in last year’s NCAA tournament and was the highlight of Canisius’ nonconference schedule.

The loss was the 400th of Jim Baron’s career. He is 434-400 all-time.

Point guard watch: Freshman Jan Grzelinski started at point guard, as expected after Jim Baron’s Niagara press conference, and scored three points on 1-of-4 shooting, dished out three assists and had two turnovers in 25 minutes. Jeremiah Williams had eight points on 3-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 from three-point range, and added an assist, a rebound, a block and a turnover in 15 minutes off the bench.

Starters: Canisius – Jan Grzelinski, Zach Lewis, Jamal Reynolds, Phil Valenti, Josiah Heath. UMass – Trey Davis, Jabarie Hinds, Derrick Gordon, Maxie Esho, Cady Lalanne.

Next: Canisius hosts Stony Brook at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 18.