It feels so great waking up on a Wednesday knowing that the Bulls played arguably their best and most complete game of the season the night before. The Buffalo Bulls defeated the Central Michigan Chippewas 101-91 as the students pilled in to Alumni Arena. Before we get to the good, the bad, and the ugly I really want to give a shout out to the UB marketing team and my fellow True Blue members. The Bulls Jam theme was put together brilliantly and the creativity and dedication to the theme in the arena and social media helped Buffalo get the attention it deserves. Now that my shameless plug is over, let’s take a look at the good.
Take a bow Mr. Hamilton you’ve earned it. I know I’ve expressed frustration and displeasure with some of your performances this year but last night was phenomenal. After scoring 33 on 13-16 shooting versus Akron, Blake followed it up with 27 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists.
He’s really seemed to find his role on this team and that excites me. He isn’t trying to make the hero play every possession but instead is playing very within himself. If Blake keeps this rolling, the Bulls will be a dangerous team moving forward. I truly believe Hamilton is the catalyst for this team. When he’s playing comfortable the rest of the team will too, and that can only spell good things for the Bulls.
Dontay Caruthers’ Defense
I’m a big Dontay Caruthers fan. First off, I’m biased of anyone successful coming from Rochester. And most importantly because of his defense. Everyone knows the saying, defense wins championships, and Caruthers showed last night what a lock down defender can do for a game. Marcus Keene, the nations leading scorer was held to 24 points on just 33% shooting. 24 may feel like a lot, but keep in mind Keene averages 32 ppg and made some incredible shots in which Caruthers had a hand in the face.
I think the future is very bright for him and getting a chance to watch him play alongside another great defender like Willie Conner has been fun. His offense shows flashes and I believe it will develop over time. For now, as long as his defense keeps up, Caruthers should be on the floor 20+ minutes a game.
The Team’s Energy
Whether it was the student’s being back or just the energy built up from losing a close game to Akron, the Bulls came out with energy. They tried to get the crowd to explode early attempting an ally oop off the opening tip. While it felt ambitious at the time, I like the thought. Give your crowd something to feed on early and then feed off of them the rest of the game.
Overall though, the team had the most energy I’ve seen in them since the Coppin State game. I really do think this team thrives off of their fans, so hopefully the passion stays high and the Bulls can get on a little run fueled by the best fans in the MAC.
Personally, it was hard to find a “bad” that stood out in this game. However, rebounding was probably one of them. Multiple times I stood their questioning how Rayson, who stands at 5’9, pulled down a board in traffic. I think our team was lazy boxing out at points due solely to knowing they have a massive height advantage. I don’t see this being a recurring theme but still one to keep an eye on. This Bulls team should have the rebounding advantage in every game.
Nick Perkins’ Technical Foul
I’ll be honest here, I had a hard time putting this as the ugly. I get the frustration Perkins had. He was hit hard by a much smaller player and frustration caught him in the heat of the moment. As long as these technical fouls don’t continue, it’s not the end of the world.
That being said, I have noticed Perk with a bit more of an “attitude” recently. Again, I don’t hate it, as long as he finds the balance. A big man with that kind of power inside should make opponents fear him. Be crazy, but be under control. He’s absolutely dominated inside this season and I expect that to continue throughout the season.
I don’t think we could’ve asked for a better game to welcome the students back with. The offense seems to be clicking and this team has a big opportunity to get on a roll here. 5/6 of the last halves have been brilliant. If the Bulls continue to play well on Friday and take out Ball State, a bye to Cleveland will be right at the tips of their fingers. I still expect great things from this team, and you should too.