Immediate reactions: UB 77, Bowling Green 75

Bowling Green 35 40 — 75
Buffalo 35 42 — 77

By Nick Veronica

What it means: UB earned the No. 2 seed in the MAC Tournament with its win and the results of Friday’s other MAC games. Players and coaches cut down the nets after the game as the PA announced the Bulls as MAC co-champions, along with Central Michigan and Kent State at 12-6.

The MAC highly rewards its top seeds, giving seeds 3 and 4 byes into the quarterfinals of the conference tournament and seeds 1 and 2 byes into the semifinals. UB’s first tournament game will be Friday, March 13 against a team to be determined. Two years at UB, two MAC East titles for Bobby Hurley.

Play-by-play: The final minute and a half was wild. Here’s how it went down:

Justin Moss puts UB ahead 71-70 with 1:32 left. Bowling Green’s Spencer Parker tied it by making one of two free throws with 1:12 to go, then a BG steal led to a David Joseph layup that regained the lead. Will Regan knocked down his fifth three-pointer to put UB back in front, then Jospeh’s layup made it 75-74 Bowling Green with 26.3 remaining.

Lamonte Bearden answered with a jumper to put UB up 76-75 with 14.9 seconds left. Anthony Henderson missed the front end of a one-and-one with 7.4 left and UB got the rebound. Justin Moss hit one of two free throws to put UB up 77-75. Moss then recovered a loose ball as BG came up the court.

Moss

Moss

Moss appeared to call for a timeout, which would’ve been disastrous because UB didn’t have any timeouts left. Refs instead called a jump ball as Moss failed to secure the ball. Possession went to BG with 1.3 seconds left. The Falcons had the ball by their bench and threw up an alley-oop for the tie, but the pass went out of bounds. UB celebrated as the horn sounded, but no one had touched the ball so the clock shouldn’t have started. UB inbounded the ball deep into BG territory and ran out the clock on a 77-75 win.

UB looked to be in some trouble late in the first half down 34-20 with 4:16 left before halftime, but an incredible hot streak brought the game to a 35-35 tie at the break. Will Regan started the run with a three-pointer, then Shannon Evans hit one, Regan hit another, and then Evans hit two deep triples that earned a standing ovation as UB went into the locker room.

UB’s season-best winning streak is now at six games. Moss finished with 19 points while playing only 21 minutes in foul trouble. Regan had 17 and Shannon Evans had 14. Jehvon Clarke led Bowling Green with 21.

MAC Tournament bracket: UB has a bye all the way into the semifinals. The 2-seed is on the bottom in Game 10.

MAC_Tournament_bracket

Operation 6000:

Free-throw struggles: UB wouldn’t have been in such a deep hole in the first half if it could’ve made some free throws. The Bulls hit just 5 of 13 free throws in the first half (38.5%) and shot 57 percent for the game.

No T: Hurley was very upset with the refs when a BG’s Delvin Dickerson intentionally bumped Shannon Evans while checking out with 10:48 left in the game. The officials went to replay but decided not to call a technical foul.

MAC Player of the Year?

Senior Day: UB seniors Will Regan and Xavier Ford were honored prior to tipoff.

Vegas line: Line was UB -6.5 and over/under 138. Bowling Green covered, total was 152.

Next: UB’s next game will be in Cleveland Friday during the MAC Tournament, opponent TBD.

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.

Immediate reactions: UB 72, Canisius 57 — Big 4 Doubleheader 11/29/14

Canisius 19 38 — 57
Buffalo 34 38 — 72

By Nick Veronica

How it happened: Canisius couldn’t hit a shot in the first half and had no answer for UB in the paint as the Bulls led by 15 at halftime, 34-19, and coasted to a low-stress victory. Justin Moss dominated for 18 points and 12 rebounds while Lamonte Bearden led all players with 21 points. Canisius never led.

What it means: The loss was the 399th of Jim Baron’s career, putting him in sole possession of 10th place on the all-time losses list for college basketball coaches. That’s more indicative of a coach who’s been around a long time than a truly bad coach, as Baron’s overall record is 432-399, and coaches who only lose don’t last until 399 losses. Former Canisius coach Nick Macarchuk is tied for fifth on that list with 428 losses.

It was Jim Baron’s first loss against UB since coming to Canisius. UB improves to 4-1, with its only loss coming against No. 1 Kentucky. The Griffs go to 2-3 after opening the year with victories over Vermont and Lehigh.

[Postgame video: UB 72, Canisius 57]

It was over when: Pick your spot. UB led by 15 at halftime and led by as many as 20 points at 54-34 with 10:27 remaining. Canisius never threatened.

Sorry, fans: Empty seats were plentiful in the First Niagara Center, and those who came (announced attendance was 7,191) saw two blowouts. St. Bonaventure and UB both won by 15. Better luck next time.

Game ball: Moss had the best stats of the night, but Bearden was very impressive for a freshman point guard and picks up the game ball. He finished with 23 points on 9 of 13 shooting, including 2 of 3 from behind the arc, and was especially good in comparison to Canisius’ freshman point guard, Jan Grzelinski, who played only six minutes and didn’t attempt a shot.

Canisius player of the game: Nobody. Josiah Heath had a good line with eight points and six rebounds but didn’t make enough of an impact defending UB’s bigs. Zach Lewis led the team with 14 points but is still forcing far too many shots, going 4 for 14 today.

Next: Both teams are back in action Dec. 3. UB is at St. Bonaventure and Canisius opens MAAC play at Saint Peter’s.

UB hangs tough with No. 1 Kentucky

By Nick Veronica

UB led No. 1 Kentucky at halftime Saturday at Rupp Arena but was overmatched in the second half on the way to an 71-52 loss.

ublogoJunior guard Jarryn Skeete kept Buffalo in the game early and led all players with 16 points, including 4 of 6 from three-point range.

Skeete’s jumper with 14:21 to go put UB ahead 45-43, but the Bulls (1-1) went cold shortly after and were outscored 28-7 the rest of the way. The halftime score was 38-33 Bulls.

Kentucky was led by freshmen Tyler Ulis and Trey Lyles, who each scored 12 points off the bench. Kentucky’s bench outscored its starters, 45-26. Rebounds were 46-27 in favor of the Wildcats.

Kentucky spends nearly nine times more on its men’s basketball program than UB does. According to the Department of Education, Kentucky spent $16,198,525 last year to UB’s $1,848,705.

UB’s Justin Moss threw down a huge dunk over Kentucky stud Willie Cauley-Stein late in the first half. Deadspin’s headline was “Willie Cauley-Stein Gets Posterized By Some Dude From Buffalo.”

Starters: UB – Will Regan, Justin Moss, Jarryn Skeete, Lamonte Bearden, Shannon Evans. Kentucky – Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, Karl-Anthony Towns, Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison.

Next: UB goes to UT-Arlington for an 8 p.m. contest on Tuesday.

UB holds on for opening win, 69-67 over South Dakota State

By Nick Veronica

Jarryn Skeete scored a go-ahead layup with 41 seconds left and UB’s defense held on to beat South Dakota State, 69-67, in the season opener for both teams Friday night at Alumni Arena.

ublogoJunior forward Justin Moss scored a career high 25 points and completed the double-double with 13 rebounds, but fouled out with 3:45 remaining.

The Jackrabbits’ Jake Bittle scored the last of his team-high 16 points with 1:06 to go, which put South Dakota State ahead 66-65.

Shannon Evans missed a three-pointer on UB’s ensuing possession, but Skeete would later score to put the Bulls ahead for good. UB’s defense came up with two steals in the final minute and Evans made enough free throws to get the win.

The final minute of regulation lasted more than 15 minutes.

Jackrabbits forwards Cody Larson and Zach Horstman both recorded double-doubles. Larson had 15 points and 15 rebounds while Horstman scored 13 and collected 12 boards.

UB freshman guard Lamonte Bearden started and had six assists along with eight points on 2 of 7 shooting. Forward Will Regan played 30 minutes but took just one shot, missing it. He made four free throws.

UB was 1 of 9 from three-point range.

UB starters: Regan, Evans, Bearden, Skeete, Evans.

Next: Sunday at #1 Kentucky, noon, ESPNU.