Tsuj’s Ten: College basketball, 1/18

Filzen lets loose as Bulls zip past Akron


UB Bulls vs. Akron Zips live-blog

Photo by Don Nieman

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

——————End of Game, 82-70 Bulls——————

:02—Filzen’s bucket is icing on the cake for Buffalo, and UB takes the home conference win!

:19—80-70 Buffalo, and the Bulls have the ball.

:19—Ever-hustling Dave Barnett picks off the Zips’ first pass after the rebound and receives a rather intense hug from head coach Reggie Witherspoon after he called a timeout from the ground. Brian Walsh kicks a chair to the ground on the way to the water-cooler. This is getting out of control.

:23—Diggs musters only one of three from the line, and this one is in the books. Watt drains the first free throw. 79-70 Buffalo.

:28—78-69 Bulls. Oldham’s second is no good, and Akron rushes the ball down the court. Quincy Diggs pump-fakes on a three-point shot and loses his defender—Barnett fouls a three-point shot. Diggs’ first is no good.

:54—Jarod makes them both from the line. Nick Harney’s three is long, and Akron is unraveling. The Zips foul Jarod Oldham, and he’ll shoot two more. “I believe that we have won” chant from the massive UB student section as Oldham cans the first.

1:03—Diggs finds Cvetinovic for a wide-open three, but he over-thinks it! It’s an airball, but Brian Walsh rebounds for Akron. He’s immediately trapped in the corner and turns it back to Buffalo, however, and then commits a frustration foul. Jarod Oldham will shoot two from the line. 75-69 Bulls.

1:14—Giant three pointer by Zach Filzen to push the lead back to six for Buffalo! The Bulls’ shooting guard has finally come out of his shell—19 points and five three-pointers for the senior in his best game in weeks.

1:43—Another twisting move and pass by Abreu to a slashing Cvetinovic for a bucket. Akron’s point guard is simply too quick with too low of a center of gravity for the Bulls to guard. Abreu has nine points, nine assists and five turnovers. You can’t fault him for being aggressive and challenging the Bulls’ D at every opportunity.

2:01—Foul on Nikola Cvetinovic as Watt attempts a five-foot hook. Mitch’s first free throw swishes through. Robinson and McCrea are subbing offense-for-defense down the stretch. Watson II enters, too—perhaps for another perimeter defender? I’m not sure. Watt misses the second. 72-67 Buffalo with under two to go.

2:43—McCrea, Oldham, Watt, Barnett and Filzen in the game right now. Great entry feed by Oldham to McCrea, who has plenty of space on the left block to turn and score off the glass. Diggs finds Cvetinovic inside to respond, however. Solid find. 71-67 Bulls.

2:55 —Zach Filzen is trapped in the backcourt, and Reggie Witherspoon wisely calls a timeout from the bench. You can see Barnett say “nice timeout, coach” to ‘Spoon as they reach the huddle.

3:16—Filzen clanks the front end of the one-and-one, giving Akron a chance. 30-second timeout by Dambrot to draw up a play. 69-65 Buffalo with 3:09 left, Akron ball. Steve McNees, a recently graduated Akron guard, is serving as an assistant coach for Akron this year. McClanahan throws up an airball on a three, but Abreu chases down the rebound and saves it—unfortunately for the Zips, the shot clock runs out.

3:34—The 1700+ students here tonight are the most in Alumni Arena since 2005. Good work, UB.

3:34—Foul on Brett McClanahan, and Buffalo will shoot one and one again after the under four timeout. 69-65 Bulls cling to a late lead.

4:10—Barnett’s free throw is true. The Bulls have been suspect at best from the line this year, and they’ll be crucial down the stretch tonight. Barnett’s second is good, too. 69-63. Abreu splits yet another double team and scores off his glass—he’s a wildly effective penetrator. I wish people would say that about me.

4:10—Zeke Marshall is awarded his fourth foul, leaving Dambrot shaking his head with his hands on his hips. Nick Harney replaces Marshall, and Dave Barnett will shoot one-and-one. Eighth team foul on Akron.

4:50—Loud boos for the refs, and there’s that old Bull manure chant again. Filzen is caught in the air driving baseline, and he’s bailed out because an Akron defender tipped his pass off the backboard. Filzen’s three rolls in and out, and Abreu coasts down the floor on a one-man fast break. 67-63 Bulls.

5:02—The Bulls plead for a foul, but Oldham’s shot is awry. Diggs can’t convert inside, and Javon McCrea hauls down the rebound. There’s a double technical called on Diggs and McCrea, and the referees were a little overeager to blow the whistle on that one.

5:38 —Mitchell Watt, not bashful about shooting from the outside, drills his second triple of the night. Huge shot! Diggs uses a shot-fake to force Watt to leave his feet, and the cagey junior will head to the stripe. The first is good. The second drops too. 67-61.

6:11—64-56 Buffalo. Diggs finds McClanahan, and the shooter knocks down a three. Five point game again.

7:16—Harney’s floater won’t fall, and Buffalo comes down with the rebound. Zach Filzen dribbles off his foot, but the ball goes out off Akron with eight on the shot clock. Quincy Diggs nearly steals the inbounds pass, but he tips it off his own backboard. Wild hook shot by Watt doesn’t fall.

7:45—Abreu jitterbugs his way into the lane before finding Marshall for a deuce, but Zach Filzen pump-fakes his defender off the ground and drills a three. You can bet that he’ll be the primary storyline after the game if the Bulls preserve this lead.

7:59—Under eight timeout, 61-54 Bulls. The Bulls lead by seven despite having no fast-break points to their name. Five blocks for Mitchell Watt, and 13 points and six boards for McCrea.

8:28—Harney records his third foul at the other end. Diggs takes a rest. Watson II has his pocket picked by Abreu, who coasts in for an uncontested lay-up. 61-54 after a sudden 7-0 Akron run. McClanahan’s three-pointer is long after a transition chance, and the ball goes out of bounds. It’s unclear whose ball it is, as both refs pointed a different direction.

8:51—Fourteen was Buffalo’s biggest lead, but it’s back down to 11. Mitchell Watt miss-communicates with a backdoor cutter again, Buffalo’s twelfth turnover. Missed runner by Harney, but the Zip is too quick for the board—the second chance is good.

9:28—Abreu slashes again and finds Harney, who’s not ready for the pass. It hits him in the hands and bounces out of bounds. Fourth turnover for Akron’s key bench contributor. Tony Watson II steps out and knocks down a three from the right corner! 61-47 Buffalo. Diggs can’t respond, but Zeke Marshall envelops the rebound and scores, plus the foul.

9:37 —Tony Watson II is too eager to beat his defender off the dribble, however, traveling in the process. Watt and Robinson, the two senior big men, enter for McCrea and Downing.

9:56—Treadwell tries to drive down the right side—it looks like Nuiriankh has him tied up, but there’s a foul called on Auraum. Diggs, sporting silver low-tops, turns the ball over on an entry pass. Good reach by McCrea.

10:40—Team-high 13 points for Zach Filzen, including three three-pointers. A number of dribble hand-offs around the perimeter by Buffalo, and Nuiriankh drops a pass into McCrea, who draws a foul on Zeke Marshall. McCrea makes one of two.

10:40—Under 12 timeout, 57-47 Buffalo leads. Auraum Nuiriankh jogs to the scorer’s table to check back in.

11:07—Dave Barnett misses the initial lay-up attempt after a nice cut, but Javon McCrea crashes the glass for a put-back. Twelve for Javon. Diggs tries a jumper from the right wing this time, and it caroms off the rim and over the backboard.

11:52—Zach Filzen launches one unexpectedly from 26-feet, and it rattles in! Huge shot for Filzen, as the Bulls’ lead reaches double-figures, 55-45. Diggs responds with a jumper from straight on. 14 on the game for Diggs.

12:37 —Oldham alertly plays thief in the back-court. In the half-court, Filzen drives down the left side of the lane, and he’s fouled on the floor by Brett McClanahan. Filzen grabs a pass and launches a three—it’s no good because he wasn’t square to the hoop. Treadwell misses a short shot for Akron, and McCrea cleans up the mess.

13:48—Strong take by Downing, but he can’t finish inside. Terrible missed traveling call by the refs on Nick Harney’s drive, and Reggie Witherspoon is beside himself. “I’m blind, I’m deaf, I wanna be a ref” is the cheer from UB’s student section. Jarod Oldham then shows some faith in his outside shot, drilling a three pointer.

14:13—Nick Harney answers with a jumper for Akron. Acrobatic hook shot from 12-feet by Watt looked incredibly unorthodox, but it went in! Travel on Nick Harney, whose tough night continues. Cameron Downing and Javon McCrea replace Mitchell Watt and Titus Robinson. Dambrot matches by reinserting seven-footer Zeke Marshall.

15:06—Titus Robinson misses two chances inside, but the ball squirts out to Oldham—the sophomore guard cans the open jumper. Watt smothers Diggs’ attempt inside, and Oldham races down the floor to receive a pass from Titus Robinson. Great find from Titus, and it’s 47-41 Buffalo.

15:58—Abreu’s free throw swishes through. Two-point game. Barnett’s baseline pass is intercepted by Abreu, but the diminutive point guard is whistled for the team’s fifth charge at the other end. Third foul on Abreu.

15:58—Under 16 timeout, and Akron’s trimmed the deficit to three. Buffalo holds a 43-40 lead.

16:45 —Filzen’s 24-footer at the end of the shot clock is no good, and Quincy Diggs beats the Bulls down the floor for a left-handed lay-in. Keith Dambrot shrieks for a travel from the Akron bench, and it’s called on Barnett. Abreu’s stutter-step down the lane is too much for Oldham, and the 5’9 point guard scored off the window plus a foul.

17:28—Nuiriankh’s second is good. 43-34 Buffalo. Fantastic drive by Abreu through a crowd of Bulls’ defenders, and he dumps a pass off to Harney for an easy weak-side lay-in. Barnett enters for Nuiriankh, who had a terrible start to the half.

17:30—Zeke Marshall went up really soft on that last attempt, and Watt made him pay for his timidity. Nuiriankh goes to the line, and he bricks a free throw. Near-wholesale change by Akron, and Walsh slams something else as he heads to the bench. Not clear why he’s unhappy now.

18:00—Zach Filzen attempts a shot in an Akron defender’s face, and there looks to be some contact—no call, and three doesn’t make contact with anything. Bulls’ assistant Kwitchoff is not pleased. Another disgusting block by Watt on Marshall, and the senior center’s timing has been exceptional tonight.

19:09—Javon McCrea bats Akron’s inbounds pass away, leading to a steal by Jarod Oldham. On the offensive trip, Zeke Marshall covers ground quickly to block McCrea’s left layup. Auraum Nuiriankh tries two treys from the left corner, and neither of them are even close. A vicious block by Mitchell Watt saves the Bulls, however.

19:09—Abreu throws up a three from deep—it clangs off the back rim, but Cvetinovic runs down the rebound and signals for a timeout. I don’t think Dambrot was too pleased with his forward’s choice for time, as those could be valuable later, and there really wasn’t enough pressure on Nikola to warrant it. 42-34 Buffalo.

19:55—Nicely executed play for Buffalo—Jarod Oldham slipped out on a diagonal cut, then whipped a pass inside to McCrea for a two. Cvetinovic floats across the lane and scores a runner. McCrea misses two in close, and Akron boards.

20:00—Buffalo shot 53% compared to Akron’s 41%. Buffalo will inbound to start the second stanza.

Halftime—All 10 Bulls have scored. Buffalo won the battle on the glass in the first half 20-13, and a lot of that is a result of playing more man-to-man than zone. Both teams have 10 turnovers, and Cvetinovic and Diggs are the two Zips in double-figures.

——————-Halftime, 40-32 Buffalo—————-

:14 —Diggs’ jumper is no good from 12-feet, and it’s halftime.

:31—Oldham throws a high pass inside to Barnett—who misses the layup long—but Cameron Downing lurks in the paint to grab the offensive board and draw the foul. Unfortunately, his first three throw is agonizingly bad. Reggie Witherspoon is still wearing his coat—a promising sign. Downing drills the second.

:37—Filzen is the first Bulls’ player in double-figures with 10. Foul on Titus Robinson—a block along the baseline—sending Cvetinovic to the free-throw line. Big Nikola’s first shot is good, cutting into UB’s nine point lead. Second swishes through as well.

1:03 —Turnover by Diggs, and Zach Filzen drains a triple—another assist from Barnett. Great job by Barnett to dribble into the lane and find the Bulls’ best shooter on a skip pass. Brian Walsh slaps the scorer’s table in frustration as Dambrot calls a 30-second timeout.

1:26—36-30 Bulls after the free throw. Second is no good, but McCrea taps back to Jarod for a new shot clock. Oldham swings the ball to Filzen, who loses sight of the ball and turns it over. Giveaways galore.

1:55 —Zeke Marshall responds with a nice seal and easy layup of his own. Oldham forces a pass into traffic, but Dave Barnett flies down the court to swat Diggs’ shot from behind. Frustrated, Diggs commits a foul in the back-court, and Oldham will shoot one and one from the line. First falls through.

2:36 —Corey Raley-Ross screams for the ball in the corner, then throws up a wild three pointer. No good—Demetrius Treadwell is called for Akron’s fourth charge of the first half. Matchup zone for the Zips, and Buffalo exploits it with Barnett’s quick pass to McCrea.

2:56—The crowd seems to be weirdly energized by this Nicki Minaj song. McCrea records the initial block on Marshall, but the lanky Akron big winds up with the rebound before drawing the foul on Titus Robinson. First free throw is right, no good. The second misses too, and Barnett hauls down the board.

2:56—Under four timeout, 33-28 Bulls. Nine different Bulls have scored so far, and Witherspoon has been very liberal with his rotation, especially with Downing and Raley-Ross seeing increased minutes.

3:34—Marshall rejects McCrea in the lane, but Diggs’ triple is short. Downing storms down the lane and Dave Barnett finds him with a bounce pass as the double-team arrives. Wait, they were double-teaming Barnett? Good awareness from Dave, though, as Akron didn’t show hard enough on the screen.

4:08—Fade-away triple from the corner by McClanahan isn’t even close—chants of airball rain down—but Jarod Oldham is called for another questionable offensive foul. Marshall then shields McCrea with his body and sweeps a hook shot off glass and in. 31-28 Bulls.

4:33—Cam Downing turns hard to his right and scores with a soft touch in the lane. An entry pass from Walsh to Marshall—Downing maintains his position in the block—Marshall is forced to leap backwards. Inexplicably, foul is called on Downing—his second.

5:10—Terrible blocking call on Cameron Downing, and Bulls’ head coach Reggie Witherspoon shouted and kicked his foot into the air. Diggs misses the three, but Treadwell grabs a strong rebound and dishes to Zeke Marshall for the layup.

5:31—Brett McClanahan picks up a foul for Akron. Watson and Filzen leave the floor, and Oldham and Cam Downing check-in. Raley-Ross slices baseline again and shuffles a pass over to Downing for a quick right-handed layup.

6:38—Forced into several switches on the possession, Titus Robinson stands his ground and wins the Bulls’ third charge call of the game. Corey Raley-Ross crosses over down the baseline and scores on a finger-roll off glass. Quincy Diggs dribbles to a space and hits a 10-foot pull up. Sweet move in the lane by Chauncey Gilliam, but he can’t convert at the rim.

7:30 —Tony Watson II tries a bounce pass to McCrea, and it’s too low. Turnover. Treadwell’s turnaround is well defended by McCrea. Javon catches a pass from Robinson in the lane, and he’s fouled—and his coordination almost allows him to convert. Two shots, and the first is good. The second falls through too, and it’s 25-22 Buffalo.

7:41—I’m really pounding the caffeine tonight, so excuse any jittery typos. Akron is 4-6 from downtown so far—not too surprising since the Zips shoot 40% from downtown as a team. Quincy Diggs has eight points in seven minutes for Akron.

7:41—Under eight timeout, 23-22 Buffalo.

7:41—A fast-break results immediately for Akron, and Abreu sprints down the floor and dumps a pass back to Harney, who charges right into the chest of Tony Watson II, who hustled back on D. The offensive foul is called on Harney—the sophomore wing is having an atrocious game for Akron.

8:31—Zips’ Nick Harney gets a little giddy after a kick-out pass from Abreu, taking several steps before putting the ball down. Turnover on an exchange between Titus Robinson and Corey Raley-Ross, who’s surprisingly in the game. Harney’s three is long and right, and Buffalo boards. Tony Watson II launches a three early in the shot clock, then Dave Barnett is long on his attempt too.

8:44—22-20 Akron. Zach Filzen tosses a quick entry pass to Titus Robinson, who spins to his right—draws a foul—and still manages to finish the hook shot. Bonus free throw is good, and it’s 23-22 Bulls.

9:35—Great screen by Demetrius Treadwell creates separation for Brian Walsh, who shoots 55% from three. The triple is good, but Zach Filzen answers with a floater at the other end. Abreu slips into the lane and dishes to the weak-side to Cvetinovic, and that’s an easy bucket for Akron. Keith Dambrot still found a reason to get really angry after that play.

10:01—Good entry pass from the point by Mitchell Watt, leading to an easy deuce by Javon McCrea. Brian Walsh charges into the lane for the Zips, and there’s a foul called on Mitchell Watt for sticking his knee up into Walsh’s mid-section. There’s no way Walsh was under control on the play, but the refs felt otherwise.

10:33—Mitchell Watt hoists a three—not the shot Buffalo wanted. Strong move by Cvetinovic in the lane, as he leaned into his defender and uses the window to his advantage. The pesky Abreu is whistled for a foul at the other end—non-shooting.

11:26—Zach Filzen does a nice job pressuring the ball—the Bulls are still in man-to-man—and Alex Abreu steps on the sideline. Filzen sneaks free from Brian Walsh, but his three hits the back iron—poor out of bounds call by the refs. McCrea swats Marshall from behind—Zeke has been historically a non-factor against Buffalo.

11:56—Under 12 timeout, 15-14 Zips. Nice ball-fake by Tony Watson II forces Diggs to leave his feet, and Watson II nails the short jumper to give the lead back to Buffalo. Foul on the floor against Javon McCrea, his first.

12:10 —Javon McCrea returns for the Bulls. Filzen misses a three long on the next possession. Cvetinovic still shows no signs of being able to dribble, and Keith Dambrot, Akron’s head coach, has a very pained expression on his face. Odds are good that Dambrot doesn’t sleep well at night, as he looks particularly uptight.

12:45 —Bounce pass down low by Watt to a slicing Barnett leads to a reverse layup from the East Aurora native. Quincy Diggs sticks another fall-away jumper. Wow.

13:26—Titus Robinson turns the ball over, misreading a backdoor cut that never happened. Hook shot in the paint by Demetrius Treadwell is no good, and Bret McClanahan loses sight of the ball.

13:54—A long pass by Akron is picked off by Oldham, but the Bulls’ miss at the other end on a three by Jarod. Quincy Diggs hits a fade-away three pointer, handing Akron its first lead, 13-12.

14:43 —Nick Harney hits the side of the backboard on the jumper. Filzen makes me swallow my words as he dribbles toward the bucket and pulls up for a 15-footer—it’s good!

15:11—Six points for Akron off three UB turnovers. Failure to protect the basketball has been a problem for Witherspoon’s club. Dave Barnett checks in for the first time.

15:11—Zach Filzen has looked timid and indecisive off-the-ball, but his catch-and-shoot triple was a thing of beauty. The current challenge is getting him in position to have a good look at the basket, not the form on the shot itself.

15:11—Good pass from Watt to a cutting Nuiriankh at the other end, but the ball ticks off the sophomore’s hand and out of bounds. The student section boos the referees loudly—perhaps a botched no-call. Under 16 timeout, 10-10 tie.

15:32—Zeke Marshall does well to hassle Watt, but Marshall misses a free throw line jumper badly at the other end. Strong board by Nuiriankh.

16:10—Nuiriankh fouls Quincy Diggs, who’s in the game for Akron. Abreu splits the double and finds Diggs wide open in the right corner, and the junior’s three swishes through. 10-10 tie.

16:27—Rather leaden-footed Nikola Cvetinovic travels in the lane, a place where he’s clearly not comfortable. Oldham strangely tries a lob, and that’s a clear turnover. Terrible play by the sophomore—a forced pass early in the shot clock.

17:15—Well done by Oldham to sneak through a double team, but Javon McCrea turns the ball over in traffic. A nice skip pass from Abreu to Cvetinovic leads to a wide open three—which falls—but Zach Filzen drills a catch-and-shoot at the other end. Great sign for the Bulls’ shooting guard.

17:25—Titus Robinson, as usual, is the first sub off the bench, replacing Watt. Robinson’s been on a hot streak since Christmas, receiving coverage in the Buffalo News for his embracing of a sixth man role.

17:50—Brian Walsh misses a trey for Akron, but Abreu chases down the long board. Zeke Marshall cleans up an offensive rebound and scores off the window. Watt and McCrea both squander chances in tight at the other end, and Nuiriankh hustles to the loose ball and signals for a timeout. 7-4 Bulls.

18:59—Cvetinovic swishes both free throws—he’s a perimeter-oriented big man with a sweet stroke. It’s always awkward to write “sweet stroke.” Great entry pass from Oldham to McCrea on the opposite block, and Javon makes no mistake. Oldham picks off a pass in the backcourt, and Nuiriankh sinks a runner. 7-2 Bulls!

19:54—Akron controls the tip. Buffalo starts out in man-to-man, and Cvetinovic misses a wild runner. Soft defense on Mitchell Watt outside, and the center is more than willing to launch a three. It’s good! At the other end, Watt looks to have a clean swat on Cvetinovic, but the referee raises his right arm for a foul.

20:00—Is it inappropriate for me to grab a black UB “black out” t-shirt? I promise not to wear it while acting as “media.” They’re sharp—even Victor E. Bull has one on.

20:00—As I elaborated on in the preview, Filzen has been smothered by defenses in MAC play, and he’s been incredibly deferential. Let’s see if the Bulls can get him open tonight against a deep and talented Akron team.

20:00—Buffalo’s starters are Nuiriankh, Mitchell Watt, Javon McCrea, Zach Filzen and Jarod Oldham. It’ll be interesting to see if Nuiriankh’s insertion makes the Bulls’ offense more dangerous, as he’s more confident in his shot than Barnett is, and Lord knows Buffalo needs a shooter in the lineup to complement Zach Filzen.

20:00—Identical pre-game montage on the video board from the Kent State game two weeks ago. It’s still really well done, and the students are rather fixated on it. Well, I think so, at least.

Pre-game—Alex Abreu, Nikola Cvetinovic, Chauncey Gilliam, Zeke Marshall and Brian Walsh start tonight for Akron. They were all greeted by a “...sucks” from the every-friendly UB cheering section.

Pre-game—Also, Dave Barnett will not start for the Bulls tonight due to a nagging injury to his knee. Auraum Nuiriankh, a sometimes sweet-shooting sophomore, will take his place in the starting five. Barnett completed warmups, however, so he’s not necessarily out.

Pre-game —I’ve received word that the “black out” theme has nothing to do with solidarity with the Google, Craigslist, Wikipedia SOPA uprising today. Thankfully.

Pre-game—For a preview of tonight’s game, check out the Tsuj’s Ten column from this morning.

Pre-game—Desperate for a conference win, the UB Bulls take on the Akron Zips tonight in the cozy confines of Alumni Arena. Ten minutes before game-time, the student section is already packed—all are wearing black because of a “black out” theme.

TAGGED: akron zips, buffalo bulls, college basketball, mac, university at buffalo

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  1. ejs0186 January 18, 2012 @ 11:21pm

    Great stuff Ben as always, keep up the good work!

    ejs0186's avatar
  2. ejs0186 January 18, 2012 @ 11:23pm

    Someone needs to light a fire under the other half of the student section, seems to me like they could be deafining if the other 60% of them got in on the chanting

    ejs0186's avatar
  3. Mike Bowers January 19, 2012 @ 12:16am

    Thanks for a great job. I couldn’t make the game but your skills put me on the front row. Well done. Go Bulls.

    Mike Bowers's avatar
  4. Ben Tsujimoto January 19, 2012 @ 9:47am

    Thanks, Ed and Mike.

    You’re right, Ed. The other half of the student section is both disorganized and pretty quiet. You can’t ask too much of these student fans though—I’m just pumped they’re there.

    Ben Tsujimoto's avatar