By Nick Veronica
Malcolm McMillan doesn’t care if he gets “posterized” – being dunked over so hard that the image is worthy of hanging on a bedroom wall.
He’s been on the wrong end of an ESPN highlight before. So what? Getting scored on is getting scored on. For him, the risk is worth the reward. He might only be 6 feet tall but he’s going for the block every time.
Late in the first half of Saturday’s win over Boston University, the Canisius senior raced back on defense for chance to stop an uncontested basket. Sure, there was a chance McMillan could look silly. BU’s Eric Fanning was going in all alone. But McMillan caught Fanning from behind at the last second and rejected a breakaway dunk.
The crowd loved it. The Griffs fed off the energy and blew the game open shortly after, pushing their lead from 13 to 20 points just before halftime.
The official scorekeeper didn’t credit McMillan with a block on the play, instead calling it a missed dunk, but McMillan knows what happened.
“That definitely was a block,” he said.
“Great play,” Phil Valenti added. “He does that kind of stuff all the time.”
All the time? Oh yeah, all the time.
“When things like that happen, I take it as a chance to make a great play,” McMillan said. “I jump up for everything. Trust me: everything.
“I’ve been dunked on, too. I’ve been on ESPN Top 10 before. That stuff like that doesn’t bother me at all. I jump for any and everything, and these guys will tell you, even in practice dudes have dunked on me before. But I don’t really look at it [like that]; it’s just a guy scored on me.”
So sure, the Griffs can light up the scoreboard on offense. They entered Saturday’ game 33rd nationally in scoring average at 83.9 points per game. But that doesn’t mean much unless it’s paired with good defense. And a commitment keeping the ball out of the basket is exactly with McMillan showed on that play.
“I have to step up and make plays like that to send a message to everybody else on the team,” he said. “That’s just stepping up and being a leader.”
Jim Baron interview
“Both teams went through exam week, so I was very, very concerned with this game coming in,” Baron said.
“But I thought we did a real good job – especially in the fist half – of defending and rebounding. That’s the thing I’ve been harping on with this basketball team: I mean, we can score, but we need to defend and rebound.”
Boston University coach Joe Jones was ejected from the game in the final two minutes. BU players and coaches did not meet with Buffalo media after the game.Follow @NickVeronica