UB saw big attendance gain in 2014-15, but Bonnies still top draw

By Nick Veronica

UB saw the largest increase in average men’s basketball attendance of any local Division I team in 2014-15, drawing an extra 150 fans per home game as it earned a share of the MAC’s regular season title.

That’s according to the NCAA’s official attendance figures, which were released Monday.

St. Bonaventure led the Big 4 in home attendance again, drawing an average of 3,889 to the Reilly Center, but saw its lead shrink as UB gained and the Bonnies lost nearly 40 fans per game from 2013-14.

2014-15 Big 4 home attendance


Niagara saw the biggest drop in average attendance, losing 360 fans per night as the team won just four of its first 25 games. Canisius lost an average of 78 fans per game after MAAC MVP Billy Baron graduated.

Update: Niagara’s attendance numbers seem to have omitted the Big 4 Classic game against St. Bonaventure at First Niagara Center — attended by 7,191 fans — where Niagara was the home team. Had Niagara counted that game, its home attendance would’ve jumped to 1,502, an increase of almost 50 fans per game from 2013-14. Judging by number of reported home games, Canisius’ numbers do include its Big 4 Classic game against UB, and UB counted its FNC game in 2013-14. Niagara did not count its FNC game against Davidson in 2013-14, either.

Syracuse led the NCAA in attendance, drawing 26,253 a night, while North Carolina State saw the largest gain, drawing 2,795 more fans per game than in 2013-14.

The Atlantic 10 was 10th in attendance by conference, with an average of 5,107 fans at each home event. UB’s Mid-American Conference was 13th at 2,885 while the MAAC was 21st at 2,130. The MAC and MAAC each gained one place from the 2013-14 rankings while the A-10 remained in 10th.

Arizona State, where Bobby Hurley now coaches, drew 5,985 fans per game last season, which was good for 89th nationally.

UB basketball heads to Duke on Dec. 5

By Nick Veronica

UB has landed a Dec. 5 matchup against defending national champion Duke, continuing its streak of scheduling nonconference games against Goliaths of college basketball.

ublogoThe game was announced Friday in Duke’s schedule release. It will be played at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. at a time yet to be determined.

UB had meetings with No. 1 Kentucky and No. 6 Wisconsin last season in athletic director Danny White’s second year on the job. UB played Texas A&M in White’s first season.

The UB-Duke matchup obviously loses some sizzle with former Blue Devil Bobby Hurley now coaching at Arizona State, but still has the connection of athletic directors: Duke AD Kevin White is Danny White’s father.

UB and Duke have never met in men’s basketball. The Bulls are 1-17 all-time against the ACC, with the win coming against Miami (Fla.) in 2006.


Javon McCrea named top 10 rookie in Europe

By Nick Veronica

Former UB Bull Javon McCrea was named one of European basketball’s top 10 rookies by the website Sportando, which covers overseas basketball.

McCrea, the former MAC Player of the Year, averaged 14.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game with Medi Bayreuth of the German league. His numbers were good for seventh in the league in scoring and 19th in rebounding.

Sportando writer Paolo Villa ranked McCrea ninth on his top 10 list. Here’s what he wrote about McCrea:

9) Javon McCrea, center, Bayreuth. He’ll have to improve his decision making and his mid-range shot, but his toughness in the paint is impressive for a player his size. He showed to be able to play bigger and to be willing to use his strong physique against taller players, fighting in the paint, rebounding, scoring on second chance opportunity and hustling on every possession. Foul trouble and shots selection sometimes limited his playing time, but his physical game and willingness to draw contacts in the paint were often crucial for his team.

UB, Niagara to play in 2015 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament

By Nick Veronica

UB and Niagara have been selected to play in the 2015 Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in November, along with Florida, North Carolina A&T, Old Dominion, Purdue, Saint Joseph’s and Vermont.

halloffametipoffEach team has two games prior to entering bracket play, though the first two games don’t have any effect on the bracket.

Niagara is at Old Dominion on Friday, Nov. 13 and goes to Saint Joseph’s on Sunday, Nov. 15.

UB travels to Old Dominion on Monday, Nov. 16 and continues the road trip at Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Bracket play is the following weekend, Nov. 21 and 22, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

Niagara plays Vermont on Saturday, Nov. 21 and UB plays North Carolina A&T. The winners and losers meet the following day.

A full tournament schedule can be found here.

UB reverses course, allows Shannon Evans to transfer anywhere

By Nick Veronica

After announcing his intention to transfer on Monday, UB point guard Shannon Evans said the school was “basically going to block all the schools I want to talk to.” But Evans and athletic director Danny White met Monday night, and in light of public backlash, White announced Tuesday that he decided to remove restrictions on Evans’ transfer.

nybuffalologo“After learning about the request for a release [Monday], and meeting with the student-athlete, I have decided that granting Shannon Evans a full release to transfer to any school in the country is in his best interest,” White said in a statement. “We wish Shannon nothing but the best in his future academic and athletic pursuits.”

Evans seemed most upset Monday about restrictions to Arizona State, where Bobby Hurley is now coaching, and VCU and Old Dominion, which are near where Evans is from in Virginia.

Evans is very close with Hurley, which makes me think Arizona State is the leading contender, but Evans will have plenty of options. He’ll have to sit out next season but has two years of eligibility remaining.