Senior-laden Temple rolls to UB tonight
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • November 28, 2012 @ 10:08am
Honestly, the University at Buffalo Bulls (2-5) have made strides since their discouraging season-opening loss to Princeton. Their movement on offense is more crisp, Auraum Nuiriankh and Will Regan have started to shake their early-season doldrums, and the team has cut down on its alarming turnover rate.
That’s all well and good, but the Bulls face what should be a humbling contest against the undefeated Temple Owls (3-0), who’ve beaten Kent State, Delaware and Rice en route to receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Tip is at 7 tonight at Alumni Arena, and tickets can be purchased here. The UB women face Duquesne preceding the men’s game.
Fran Dunphy’s team puts up almost 80 points per game and boasts three terrific seniors in Scootie Randall, Khalif Wyatt and Rahir Hollis-Jefferson. (I have a feeling that Rahir Hollis-Jefferson vs. Raphell Thomas-Edwards match-up could be a nightmare for UB radio announcer Josh Whetzel.) Randall, who missed all of last season due to a knee injury, has exploded back into form this year, averaging 22 points and eight rebounds through the first trio of games.
Players to Watch:
Anthony Lee, Temple: A 6’9 red-shirt sophomore, Lee patrols the paint for the Owls and will be tasked with defending Javon McCrea tonight. Opponents have had difficulty with McCrea’s strength around the bucket this year, as several Princeton and Yale defenders got into foul trouble, as did Florida State’s Okaro White. Lee earned major kudos from Dunphy following the win over Rice:
“Anthony [Lee] was terrific tonight in so many ways,” Dunphy said to PhilaHoops.com. “I thought he did a very good job on the offensive end. He came up with 13 rebounds, [too]; he’s really starting to understand that’s a great strength of his.”
Will Regan, UB: It’s fun to track Regan’s progress—not only because he’s a local product—because he has the potential to be a mid-major star. The Nichols’ grad was uber-efficient against D2 Mansfield, but he’ll have a stiffer test tonight against a mature Temple starting lineup. Xavier Ford faces the identical challenge—a young, unproven, undersized big man against several dudes over 6’6 and 220 pounds.
Vegas line: Temple is favored by six points
Prediction: Owls, 72-58.
(Header photo courtesy of Robin David Brown from UB vs. Canisius game—see the full gallery).