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.

UB names Lance Leipold football coach

By Nick Veronica

UB athletic director Danny White made another bold move Monday, announcing he had selected Lance Leipold to become the school’s new football coach.

Leipold comes to Buffalo from Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, where he has won five national championships since 2007. Leipold’s record there is an outstanding 106-6, giving him more wins since 2007 than UB football has in its history (98).

Danny White, left, with Lance Leipold

Danny White, left, with Lance Leipold

“What’s important to me is having credibility in your sport,” White said at press conference in Alumni Arena Monday afternoon. “What do other coaches think of you? Because I think that impacts your ability to build a staff. What do prospective recruits think of you?

“I asked a lot of questions to a lot of influential people in the sport of football, and Lance Leipold is extremely well-respected across the country. What he’s done is a pretty amazing story. That’s an unprecedented amount of success in the game. I think he brings an awful lot of credibility to our program.”

“I’m sure there will be a little bit [of a learning curve],” White added, “but I don’t think it will be significant.”

Leipold said he will finish out the season at UW-Whitewater, which has a national quarterfinal game on Saturday. White said he made the announcement Sunday night with a Monday press conference so Leipold could return to his team as soon as possible.

Leipold met with players early Monday morning but said he didn’t take any questions from them. He will review the remaining staff in the near future.

“We will be moving quickly on making decisions about staff … I can tell already interest will be high,” Leipold said.

White wouldn’t say if Alex Wood, the interim coach after Jeff Quinn’s firing, was given serious consideration for the job.

“In this scenario I was looking for someone who had previous head coaching experience,” White said earlier in the press conference. “That’s something important for us because we feel we’re very close [to taking the next step] as a program, the players we have, we don’t feel like this is a ‘hit the reset button and rebuild the program.’ We feel like we’re really close, so we wanted somebody who already knows how to drive the truck, because it’s a pretty healthy truck.”

When asked why his D-III success would transfer to Division I, Leipod motioned to the UB players in stands. They’re bigger and faster than his D-III players, but “football is football,” he said.

Leipold grew up 15 minutes away from UW-Whitewater’s campus and played quarterback for them. His parents and sister also attended the school.

Before coaching at UW-Whitewater, Leipold was a graduate assistant at Wisconsin, an assistant coach and coordinator at Division II Nebraska-Omaha, then spent time at Nebraska before returning to Nebraska-Omaha. He and his wife Kelly have a daughter, Lindsey, and a son, Landon.


Postgame video: UB 72, Canisius 57 — Big 4 Doubleheader

By Nick Veronica

UB: Bobby Hurley, Lamonte Bearden, Rodell Wigginton

UB coach Bobby Hurley liked the setup of this year’s doubleheader more than last year’s version, which didn’t include St. Bonaventure. Lamonte Bearden preached taking what the defense gives him … which was a lot on a night he scored a career-high 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting.

Canisius: Jim Baron, Zach Lewis, Phil Valenti

Jim Baron gave the standard “UB’s a good team” but acknowledged his team needs to get better. Zach Lewis talked about his volume of shots, which he said is him trying to be aggressive while he works to find his groove.