UB vs. Niagara preview
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • December 07, 2011 @ 10:35am
In two games this year against Big 4 rivals, the University at Buffalo Bulls men’s basketball team has an even record—UB pummeled Canisius before losing by six to St. Bonaventure on Saturday. With the post-game frustration—heck, anger—that you’d expect from a team with NCAA Tournament expectations, watch for the Bulls (4-2 overall) to bounce back tonight at Niagara University.
The game will tip-off at 7 p.m., and it will be aired on Time Warner Sports Net locally. Ticket prices range from $14.75 for general admission, $21.50 for reserved seating or $30.50 to sit court-side. Purchase online through Ticketmaster here, or call the Niagara Box Office at (716) 286-8499.
—Zach Filzen was named MAC East Player of the Week on Monday for his lights-out three-point shooting against Dayton and St. Bonaventure, evenly splitting 12 over the two games for UB.
—Opponents have focused on smothering the Bulls’ Javon McCrea in the post, often sending two defenders in his direction. As a result, the highly-regarded sophomore from Newark has struggled with turnovers, averaging nearly four per contest.
—The rigors of “starting MAC point guard” have caught up with Jarod Oldham, another Buffalo sophomore, who’s been challenged by head coach Reggie Witherspoon to “slow down” his play and not let adrenaline dictate his actions. Oldham’s career-high seven turnovers against St. Bonaventure were devastating for the rhythm of the Buffalo offense.
—Niagara’s freshman Juan’ya Green has exceeded the lofty expectations that Joe Mihalich had for his freshman guard. Replacing graduate Anthony Nelson, a prolific four-year player, Green averages 19.5 points per game and has posted 60 over his last two outings. He’s a pure, pure scorer.
—The return of Antoine Mason, the son of former New York Knicks’ forward Anthony Mason, from his medical red-shirt has been a boon for Niagara as well. Even though his percentages are lackluster—39% from the field, 59% from the line and 18% from downtown—Mason has immense talent. Keeping three shoot-first players in Mason, Green and Marvin Jordan happy must be a constant struggle for Mihalich.
—When Niagara last took the floor, the Purple Eagles were smashed 98-62 by the Iona Gaels, the nation’s highest-scoring team entering last weekend. The loss dropped Niagara to 3-5 overall, with the wins coming against Central Connecticut State, Sam Houston State and St. Francis (PA).