When the Bulls 21-22 Basketball schedule was released a bit piecemeal and finalized late in the game, it was apparent they had difficulty scheduling exactly as they would have liked to this year. The result were home games against NAIA Point Park and Division 3 St John Fisher, a definite oddity and evidence of how difficult it is for mid major programs to schedule quality home games.
The first of what should be two dominant wins on their home floor was completed Monday night as UB never trailed and got extensive minutes for their depth players and freshmen in defeating Point Park University 94-49.
With the lower quality of competition it is difficult to glean too much about the team from this game. It was good, however, that they got back into the swing of things after their holiday MTE in Cancun and, also, a good sign that they didn’t even let their inferior opponent hang around, taking and steadily expanding the lead.
Every rostered player played at least 5 min with the exception of Zaakir Williamson, who remains injured and would appear likely to redshirt, and Brock Bertram. You have to wonder if Bertram is injured.
Josh Mballa led the way as the Pioneers had no answers down low with 19 pts and 12 boards in 19 minutes. Also notable was Ronald Segu’s 7 assists and no turnovers. It was good to see a chance for development for Blocker and Mading, among others.
This matchup was the final tuneup for what is likely to be a hotly contested game Saturday night against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies in the Riley Center. Tip is at 4pm on a tbd NBC digital platform. St. Bonaventure is 5-1 and won the Charleston Classic holiday MTE and is ranked 25th in the USA Today Poll, and was ranked as high as 16th in the AP last week before dropping out of that poll after a loss to the University of Northern Iowa.
This will be the latest edition of what has become a nice rivalry in the last handful of years as both programs have had quality teams and the games have been hotly contested. The animosity between the fan bases has only grown with the intensity of the on court rivalry. UB and St. Bonaventure are in some ways very similar teams, in that they both have extremely experienced rosters led by established all-conference caliber players. If you make it a point to watch one Bulls game this year, a good argument can be made it should be this one.