Quick early baskets (mostly from beyond the arc) made it seem like it was going to be a offensive battle, but sure enough it came down to a low scoring game that had a lot of rebounds and low shooting percentages. Boyer scored all of his 9 points on 3's, all before the first media time-out but what I think was more important was his 7 assists to 0 turnovers for the game. He did a good job taking what the zone defense gave him, and dishing the ball to the open guys out on the perimeter.
Pierce scored a bunch of points like he always seems to do, finishing the game with 21 but more importantly played really good defense, and dished out 6 assists of his own. It may have taken him a while to get into it, but he really seems to be making the important baskets lately, not letting the opponent take the lead back.
I know a 3 point win that had to come down to Smiley making a 3 with 4.7 seconds left in the game isn't something to get too excited about, but any win over a team that you struggle against is big. Buffalo never seems to play well against the zone, especially against Bowling Green, so picking up a win on the road is really key.
The Bulls really don't have a crafty big man whose does an excellent job passing out of the zone, so the most part the Bulls just had to pass it around the perimeter and be one dimensional with shots from the outside. Getting a win when your team is pretty much limited to one dimension is huge because it shows you can play several different styles of basketball and still win the game. The Bulls wont need to play like that every game, they just struggle against the zone.
I do think that lately the Bulls have had a quick trigger, taking shots way too early in the shot clock because the shooter feels they can make it, but that's not always the right decision. Buffalo has to do a better job working the shot clock, trying to get a easy basket or a foul on the defense. Since after the game against Buff St (5 games) the Bulls have only been fouled 16.6 times per game. This means their not getting key players for the other teams in foul trouble, not getting free throws till the last few minutes of a half, and not getting enough touches down low from people like Boudreau, Robinson, and Watt. I know the Bulls have played pretty well since that point, but they cant go the rest of the MAC season with numbers like that. It shows that Buffalo is not a complete team yet, and that either the Bulls don't want to get the ball into the post, or the perimeter players don't have faith in the big men getting points. A little more balance could put UB in a position to really be considered the favorite in the MAC.
Sorry but I had to get all of that negativity out of my system.
Buffalo faces Akron at home this weekend, 2pm on Sunday!!! (everyone must go to the game. Tell all your friends, tell all the freshman you know, its a good opportunity to get them to see how good our basketball team is and get them part of the TrueBlue environment.)
Pre-game report to come Saturday