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Bulls behind the scenes: UB’s 72-65 win over St. Peter’s


UB vs. St. Peter’s live-blog

Photo by Dave Marino

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

——————End of Game, 72-65 Buffalo—————-

:15—Chris Burke hacks Titus Robinson, but the Bulls’ big misses the first.  The second is good, however, and the clock runs out on St. Peter’s. 

:25—Yvon Raymond’s shot rims out, and he’s forced to foul.  Watt returns to the line—where he’s struggled tonight—but he makes two.  Raymond scores off of his own miss—12 points on the night for Raymond, and the Peacocks use their final timeout.  71-65 Buffalo.

:39 —Chris Prescott, guarding Dave Barnett on the in-bounds, doesn’t turn his head in time—and he’s forced to foul his man.  That’s five fouls on Prescott, who led all scorers with 23 points.  Without the electric guard’s scoring, the Peacocks will have to find scoring from another source.  Rubbing salt in the wound, Barnett hits both free throws, pushing the lead back to six. 

:50—Two big makes by Barnett.  Six point UB lead, and chants of “defense!” rain down from the student section.  Titus Robinson over-commits on his man in the corner, however—a stupid foul.  Blaise Ffrench drills the first from the line, and St. Peter’s has mustered a lot of points in this comeback with the clock stopped.  67-63 Buffalo with 39 ticks on the clock.

:51—Watt runs the baseline and finds Barnett on the in-bounds—two very important shots upcoming for Barnett.

:51—Half the attendance tonight is students, a UB source next to me mentioned.  Good work, UB.

:51—Buffalo leads 65-51 now after Oldham clanged both free throws and the Bulls were beaten down the court on Chris Prescott’s reverse layup.  Mitchell Watt was nearly called for “five seconds”—but Witherspoon signaled for a timeout just before the referee gave possession back to the Peacocks. 

1:13—Jarod Oldham cans his two free throws—big shots.  Bulls’ assistant coach Jim Kwitchoff throws his arms up in disgust as Zach Filzen’s whistled for a soft foul.  Ffrench connects on his first from the line—and the second too—and it’s 65-59 now.  Jarod Oldham dribbles into the lane after a nice look-away pass from Watt helped break the press.  Oldham’s fouled, but he misses the first.

1:16—Right on cue, Blaise Ffrench picks Oldham’s pocket and draws a foul on the fast break.  Ffrench shoots two—the first is good. Seven point lead now—six after Ffrench makes the second.  Oldham’s fouled at midcourt, however, and he’ll shoot two now that Buffalo is in the double-bonus.

1:39 —A good early season situation—late in a game—where the Bulls must protect the basketball and make their free throws.  You can never be put in a circumstance like that too soon—great preparation for MAC play. 

2:12—Karee Ferguson’s bucket cuts the margin to eight, but McCrea responds immediately with a dunk off a nice feed from Watt.  Prescott swoops in for a layup—misses—but Jack Hill beats UB to the ball for the put-back score.  Witherspoon shouts at Dave Barnett in the huddle for a missed assignment.  63-55 Buffalo.

2:46—Nifty offensive rebound and shot-fake by Raymond—McCrea is fooled by the up-fake, and Raymond will shoot two.  Shouts of “suck my peacock”—slightly inappropriate, if amusing—are yelled down by the UB student section.  Creative?  Unclear. 

3:21—Filzen hoists a three from the right wing, but it’s a little short—Mitchell Watt is called for the loose ball foul.  Ferguson misses the front end of the one-and-one, but Ffrench snares the offensive board.  Jarod Oldham anticipates Ferguson’s pass, however, and streaks down the floor for an open layup.  Big momentum shift there, and it’s 61-49 Buffalo. 

3:58 —Under four timeout, 59-47 Buffalo.  Neither team is shooting particularly well from the floor for the game—St. Peter’s is hitting at a 37% clip while Buffalo’s at 41%.  Prescott sinks two free throws, and it’s a ten point margin. 

4:27—Oldham sinks the first from the line, pushing the lead to 59-47.  The second is no good, however, and Ferguson rips down the board. 

4:49—Karee Ferguson fakes Watt off his feet and glides to the rim for a hoop.  Oldham breaks the press and is fouled—much to John Dunne’s chagrin.  Foul is on Blaise Ffrench—his first. 

5:43 —Watt misses two free throws, and then Jack Hill maintains his strong second half play with a thunderous dunk.  McCrea demands the ball in the post after a missed Watt slam—spins to his right, pumpfakes and executes an up and under scoop shot—it’s good!  58-45 Bulls, and Buffalo’s sustained a double-digit lead for most of the game. 

6:18—McCrea knocks them both again—he’s 4-4 from the line after shooting below 60% last year.  The Bulls aren’t being bothered by the St. Peter’s press—at all, really.

6:40—Prescott’s fade-away three with the shot-clock down to two is way short.  Buffalo takes the ball and runs some clock.  McCrea spins to the outside of Jack Hill’s body, drawing a blocking foul on Hill—his fourth.  McCrea will have another opportunity to showcase his improved free throw shooting.

7:28—Sorry, technical difficulties—the wireless card in my TBN hand-me-down isn’t cooperating.  St. Peter’s is on a 7-2 run since I lost connection, and Mitchell Watt just picked up his third foul on a charge.  With a chip on his shoulder, Watt flatly rejects Karee Ferguson’s layup attempt at the other end.  54-43 Buffalo.

11:05—52-36 Bulls.  Buffalo is having no problem penetrating the St. Peter’s zone, and it’s no coincidence that Filzen’s shot has come to life since the Peacocks deserted their man-to-man approach.  Well done by Witherspoon and co. to recognize the Peacock’s system and find the vulnerabilities.

11:05—Pestered in the backcourt by three Bulls, Jack Hill shuffles his feet in panic—a travel.  Chants of “Titus” rain down on the floor.  Kudos to the Bulls’ facility managers for a different lighting in Alumni Arena—the stands are considerably darker and the floor is much brighter this year, giving the court more of a “stage-like” feel. 

12:46—Burke is tied up inside again, and he loses the ball before fouling a Bull.  Tough game for the 6’4 sophomore guard.  Sitting in the middle of the St. Peter’s zone, McCrea catches the ball and lays off to Raley-Ross on the weak-side for an easy layup.  Dunk by Jack Hill makes the score 52-36 Buffalo.

13:29—McCrea, Raley-Ross, Robinson, Oldham and Filzen return to the floor for Buffalo.  Chris Burke misses at the rim, and Buffalo pushes the tempo again.  Titus Robinson fails to convert inside, however, and the ball goes back over to St. Peter’s. 

13:30—Barnett’s three rims out, but St. Peter’s can’t convert at the other end.  On the fast break, Oldham swings the ball quickly to Filzen, whose catch-and-shoot three is a thing of beauty.  Now he’s finally found a rhythm; Filzen has 11 points on the night to join McCrea and Watt in double figures.  50-34 Buffalo.

14:18—Brandon Hall slices through the middle of the Buffalo zone—McCrea is a little late to recover, and he picks up the foul, his second, too.  A travel on Chris Burke gives the ball back to Buffalo.

14:57—Full court press on for St. Peter’s, but McCrea’s smart passing helps the Bulls break it.  Barnett kicks the ball out to Filzen beyond the arc, and his three swishes through the hoop this time.  47-34 Buffalo.

15:18 —After a Filzen missed three, Javon McCrea collected the rebound and dropped a touch-pass to Watt for another powerful dunk.  Yvon Raymond of St. Peter’s draws a dubious foul on Mitchell Watt, the center’s second foul, and Raymond bricks the first from the line. 

15:51—Prescott’s 16 points lead the Peacocks, while McCrea’s 12 paces the Bulls. 

15:51—Yvon Raymond draws the ire of his head coach again, holding the ball at the elbow and allowing the Bulls’ zone to collapse on him.  Raymond turned the ball over and left Dunne shaking his head in disgust.  Four team fouls on St. Peter’s after only four minutes of action.  We’re at the under 16 timeout, 42-33 Buffalo.

16:11—Watt draws a foul inside again.  The first free throw is good—8 points, two boards and two blocks on the game for Mitchell.  The second is no good, and Prescott flies in for the rebounder. 

16:58—Chris Prescott hits a three, then Brandon Hall scores on a putback off a fast break miss.  41-33 UB after a mini-run by St. Peter’s.  McCrea can’t corral a rebound, and Peter’s has a chance to cut into the eight point deficit.

17:47—McCrea calmly swishes his first free throw on his first attempt of the season—the second is good too, a clear indication that McCrea’s improved that area of his game this offseason.  Bulls still in their 2-3 zone.

18:08—Ferguson challenges Watt at the rim and blocks the shot.  The junior swingman tries a leaner at the other end, but he misses, too.  McCrea and Watt continue to fight for rebounds inside, and Javon eventually draws the foul on Jack Hill, the center’s third foul. 

18:39—Filzen loses the ball in mid-air just outside the paint, and Prescott darts the other way again, drawing a foul on Jarod Oldham near the UB hoop.  Prescott shoots two.  The first is good—Prescott leads all scorers with 12 points tonight, 13 after he knocks down the second free throw.

19:55 —Same starters in the second for UB.  Ticky-tack foul on Lamin Fulton of St. Peter’s—his second.  McCrea tries to cross over Prescott, but the guard picks his pocket and starts a fast break that’s finished with a slam by Ferguson.  Jarod Oldham answers with a three from the right wing, however, and his form was silky-smooth.  39-26 Buffalo.  Ferguson loses McCrea inside but badly misses his shot off-glass. 

Halftime—Considering the Bulls only shot 2-10 from downtown, the 12 point halftime lead is a great sign.  14 offensive rebounds speaks to the advantage inside, and the match-up between McCrea and Peacock reserve Gaetano Spera is laughable.

Halftime —You won’t see many teams more physical than Buffalo this season.  With so many big bodies to throw around—a stronger Mitchell Watt, a more active Titus Robinson, a beastly Javon McCrea, a stronger guard in Jarod Oldham—man, the Bulls are absurdly active on the glass at both ends.  This is a huge advantage, particularly against MAC teams that simply won’t have the size to compete.

——————Halftime, 36-24——————-

:01—Dave Barnett can’t hit the three at the halftime buzzer, and Buffalo takes a 36-24 lead into the break.

:51—Filzen finds a wide-open Barnett in the left corner, and the East Aurora grad nails the open trey!  36-24 Buffalo after Karee Ferguson answers with a put-back.

1:28—Chris Prescott answers with a three, but Javon McCrea puts back Xavier Ford’s miss to return the lead to double-digits. 

2:50 —Javon McCrea outjumps Spera for a rebound, then scores against him with an up-and-under move with his left.  Wow, what a finish.  “You can’t stop this!” is the chant for the UB students.

3:27—Dave Barnett’s called for traveling on the baseline.  Buffalo’s very physical underneath defensively again, leading to a block by McCrea, a rebound by Filzen.  Jarod Oldham leads the rush and throws a lob to Xavier Ford, who softly lays home on the break.  29-19, and Dunne uses another TO. 

3:38—Under four timeout—Buffalo has the rebounding edge 22-14, and Watt’s seven points lead the Bulls.  McCrea and Barnett each have six.  Prescott’s eight for St. Peter’s leads all scorers.  27-19 is the Bulls’ lead.

3:38—6’6 Dave Barnett violently rejects 6’11 Gaetano Spera’s shot from in close, and the Peacock walks gingerly off the floor holding his eye.  Not the start that the Italian import wanted for St. Peter’s. 

4:39—He missed them both too—early-season free throw shooting woes for each team tonight.  Brandon Hall dribbles through the zone himself to score at the hoop—no defensive rotation from the UB bigs on the play either.  Ford misses a jumper early in the shot clock—St. Peter’s gets the ball back again.

4:51—He misses them both.  Xavier Ford pumpfakes his defender and leans in—he misses the shot, but he’ll go to the line for two.  Scorer’s instincts there to draw the foul.  The first free throw is no good, however. 

5:04—10 point lead for Buffalo.  Xavier Ford registers a clean block, but there’s a foul underneath on Buffalo’s Javon McCrea.  Karee Ferguson will shoot two from the stripe. 

5:31—Ferguson misses a runner over McCrea, and the ball is tipped around into Filzen’s hands.  Lamin Fulton commits a foul for St. Peter’s, the team’s eighth foul—sending the automatic Filzen to the line for one-and-one.  The first is good—26-17 Buffalo. 

5:33—Yvon Raymond of St. Peter’s inexplicably saves the ball underneath his own basket with a behind the back pass—the ball goes straight to McCrea, who dumps the ball off to Robinson on the weak-side for a lay-in.  Terrible choice by Raymond.  25-17 Buffalo, and John Dunne calls for a 30-second timeout.  Xavier Ford enters the game for the first time for Buffalo.

6:40—Lamin Fulton bricks a three, and Yvon Raymond is whistled for a loose ball foul on the rebound attempt.  Buffalo ball.  21-17 Bulls.  Filzen scoots into the lane and tries a wild layup—it’s no good, but Robinson again gets a mitt on the rebound—it’s off St. Peter’s.  McCrea capitalizes with an offensive rebound and put-back of his own miss inside.  He’s a bull. 

6:55—Oldham, who racked up four assists by the under 12 timeout, hasn’t been as assertive since.  Buffalo has 10 offensive rebounds (three by Barnett and two by Titus Robinson).  Robinson, Oldham, McCrea, Filzen and Raley-Ross on the floor.  Robinson misses the first toss.

7:35—Barnett bricks a three pointer, and St. Peter’s takes over again, still trailing by three.  Raley Ross misses a jumper, but the lanky Robinson gets a hand on the rebound, controls it and draws the foul, drawing a cheer from Zach Filzen from the scorer’s table.  At the under eight timeout, it’s 20-17 Buffalo.

8:23—Watt fakes the 15-footer and drives hard to the bucket with his strong hand—he’s fouled by Prescott, his second.  Mitchell misses one of two, but Titus Robinson grabs the rebound—St. Peter’s ties up the loose ball and the possession era is in the visitor’s favor.

9:13—Chris Prescott’s three glances high off the rim and off the shot-clock.  Buffalo ball, and Jarod Oldham returns to the lineup for Filzen.  Raley-Ross coughs the ball up again and fouls Raymond in desperation—smart move, though, as he saved a sure bucket.  Prescott turns and fires again—swishing a jumper.  He’s a sound shooter.  19-17 Buffalo.

10:24—Mitchell Watt clanks a 15 footer, and there’s a disputed out of bounds call that goes in favor of the Peacocks.  I laugh every time I type “Peacock.”  Watt rejects Raymond’s runner, but Karee Ferguson slams home the putback for St. Peter’s.  Turnaround jumper by Titus Robinson is no good, and T-Rob misses a dunk after the offensive rebound. 

10:55—Raymond and Prescott are the only two players who’ve scored for St. Peter’s—more 3/4 court press by the Peacocks, and we’ll see a lot of that against Buffalo this year due to the lack of a veteran point guard.

11:09—Barnett sees a generous roll on the free throw.  Blaise Ffrench enters the game for St. Peter’s—it’s an awesome last name, and no, it’s not a typo. 

11:09—Four rebounds in the early-going for Barnett—a hustle, meat-and-potatoes type player for the Bulls.  He’s playing with the confidence and energy that we only saw for spurts last year.

11:09—McCrea turns in the lane and tries an eight footer—it’s not close, but Titus Robinson hustles after the loose ball and pokes it free to Dave Barnett, who alertly scoops up the ball and scores—and he’s fouled!  18-12 Buffalo at the under 12 timeout—Watt enters for McCrea.

12:06—Raymond scores again—his third bucket in two minutes—after a turnover by Corey Raley Ross.  Filzen unexpectedly launches a 26 footer—it caroms high off the rim, but Barnett’s there to clean up the mess and tack on the putback.  16-12 Buffalo.

12:12—Raymond connects again after a missed shot by Prescott—Robinson had a chance to swat the shot, but Raymond had enough strength to finish at the rim. 

14:13—Brandon Hall knifes into the lane but can’t finish at the rim.  St. Peter’s snags the offensive rebound, but Prescott is called for traveling.  Filzen grabs a catch-and-shoot jumper from the left wing, and he sinks his first bucket of 2011.  Yvon Raymond drills a floater in response, however.  Titus Robinson enters the game for the first time.

15:19—Javon McCrea just threw down a nasty dunk over Chris Burke after crossing over a defender on the perimeter!  The big man has real underrated handles, and he completely shook his defender before stunning the crowd with a ferocious jam.  Another sweet left-handed hook by Watt, and it’s 11-6 Buffalo. 

15:36—Dave Barnett’s been aggressive early, careening in for an offensive rebound and attacking the basket when the opportunity arises.  Watt’s dunk and hook account for four of the Bulls’ seven points, and, as the UB Spectrum noted today, Watt looks considerably stronger (20-25 pounds of muscle.)

16:10 —The Bulls are clearly showing jitters from the outside, as Filzen has missed his first two three point attempts.  Buffalo has played zone exclusively.  Prescott drains a three to cut the margin to one.  3/4 court press immediately by the Peacocks, and it nearly forces a turnover.  Under 16 timeout, 7-6 Buffalo.

17:23—Karee Ferguson drives to the hoop, but Mitchell Watt is comfortably in position to take the charge.  Good discipline defensively.  A bank shot by Watt high off-glass is good, and it’s 7-3 Bulls. 

17:55—Good ball movement by the Bulls lead to an open three by Filzen—it’s an airball, but Watt grabs the rebound and tosses to Barnett.  Watt gets the ball back, spins to the baseline and throws down a reverse jam, drawing a collective scream from True Blue.

18:44—Oldham flips a pass into McCrea, who spins to the middle and converts a layup.  2-0 Buffalo.  Chris Prescott pulls up for a three off the dribble, however, and it’s good.  3-2 Peacocks.

19:52—Watt wins the tip and taps over to Oldham.  Javon McCrea bricks his first shot of 2010—a 17-footer from straight on, and Jack Hill collects the rebound for St. Peter’s.  Skip pass to Ferguson gives the wingman a little space, but Barnett closes quickly to force a missed shot.

20:00 —The Chicago Bulls warm-up music—back from the NBA Championship Jordan era—rings across Alumni Arena.  A great college basketball atmosphere, at least for the opener.

Pre-game—The buzz about a potential good basketball team appears to have swept across UB’s campus, as the student section is jam-packed behind the basket to the left of mid-court (the east end). 

Pre-game—Chants of “Reggie, Reggie, Reggie” greet the beloved Bulls’ head coach.  Freshmen Raphell Thomas-Edwards and Xavier Ford are the first players introduced.  New in-game public address announcer this year!  Huge ovation for Javon McCrea as his name is read.

Pre-game—McCrea’s entrance into the starting lineup is a minor surprise, as Titus Robinson has been listed as the starter for much of the preseason.  The label of “starter” doesn’t really hold much weight, though, as McCrea will play 30 minutes a night regardless.  He’s one of the best players in the MAC and one of the most unheralded in the country.

Pre-game—Zach Filzen, Mitchell Watt, Javon McCrea and Dave Barnett are the other listed starters for Buffalo, while the projected starters for St. Peter’s are Brandon Hall, Chris Prescott, Karee Ferguson, Lamin Fulton and Jack Hill.  None of the aforementioned Peacocks were starters in last year’s MAAC title run, as Nick Leon, Ryan Bacon, Jeron Belin and Wesley Jenkins were the team’s leading scorers.

Pre-game—The Peacocks exit the court first after warmups—the Bulls continue to hoist shots.  Will Regan, an ineligibly transfer from Virginia, and Watson II are the only two Bulls in street clothes.

Pre-game—Jarod Oldham takes over at point guard tonight—the first non-senior to run the point since 2007—and he’ll see as much playing time as he can tolerate, as there’s no clear backup point guard with Tony Watson II on the shelf due to injury.  Expect more of a time-share once Watson’s healthy, but the sophomore Oldham will have the first chance to make an impression on Coach Reggie Witherspoon.

Pre-game —A 2011-12 MAC title is definitely within the University at Buffalo’s reach, and tonight’s match-up against St. Peter’s—an NCAA Tournament team last year—will release the pre-season jitters and provide Bulls fans an idea of the team’s potential.

TAGGED: javon mccrea, reggie witherspoon, st. peter's peacocks, ub bulls, university at buffalo

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  1. Big Ben November 12, 2011 @ 2:43am

    You, sir, are an unabashed Bulls fan. 

    Chris Prescott is awesome.  This team looks like it will still be pretty good in the MAAC.

    Big Ben's avatar