Last night, the men’s basketball team opened up their season tonight against Division III Pitt-Bradford and grabbed Nate Oats' 1st win as a Division I head coach. Scoring 109 points in the contest ranks 8th highest in point totals in program history. Six Bulls were in double figures for scoring, and 11 total players ended with minutes tonight showing a nice distribution and performance all around.
* We just want to make it clear that Pitt-Bradford is again, a Division III school, so takeaways from this game should be taken with a grain of salt. We haven't seen a true test just yet, so we don’t know what this team is actually capable of. But anyways:
1. Two faces of Blake Hamilton
In the exhibition against Daemen, Hamilton looked extremely raw and had a number of sloppy plays that had me question what his role would actually be on this team. Tonight he dropped 21 points, shooting 63% from the field, with 7 rebounds to boot. I love Hamilton’s size on the wing, and it should cause match-up issues for opponents. I will reserve total judgement until we get some similar-level opponents due to our small sample size.
2. Expectations of Massinburg
Coming into the season, I didn’t expect CJ to see really any minutes throughout the season. He has proven himself worthy of playing time by scoring a combined 44 points through two games, and also showing that he is pretty good on defense as well. One thing that I do not want to happen is for us to create this expectation that Massinburg will have games like he has had consistently throughout the season. Once that expectation is created, if he does not perform like he has been, people may not view him as favorably. Let’s remember that he is a freshman and his season will have ups and downs.
3. Assists to Turnovers Ratio
19 team assists to 9 turnovers. Nate Oats had expressed that coming off of last game that he wanted a decrease in the amount of turnovers. The players addressed this pretty well reducing 24 turnovers against Daemen to only 9 tonight. They also had 4 more assists and were evenly spread out across the team. All but two players ended the game with an assist on the stat sheet. Not making bad decisions on offense and sharing the basketball paid dividends tonight.
Player of the Game: Rodell Wigginton
Rodell filled out the stat sheet tonight scoring 25 points, shot 83% from the field, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. Rodell looked very sharp in this contest showing poise on the court and even threw in a couple of flashy dunks/alley-oops. Pretty self explanatory why he’s my pick.
1. Skeete needs to be better
When I saw open practice, I had a lot of praise for Skeete. Today was much different as he only put up a 2-9 performance. Skeete forced a lot of shots that were reminiscent of the final portion of last season. I’m going to give him a break considering he did just get back from a concussion. Skeete has a big opportunity to become a shooting juggernaut for Buffalo and just needs to take smart shots.
2. Foul Trouble
Foul trouble was a small problem again in this game. It wasn’t on the same level as Daemen but this area still needs to improve. Wigginton, Bearden, and Perkins all had some questionable fouls throughout the game
3. Concerns about Rakicevic
Nikola looked a little lost on the court today. He was able to get one bucket to fall and that was it. His rebounding and defense was great but I expected a little more scoring from him. I’m hoping this is just a game for him to shake off the cobwebs and that this doesn’t become a trend. On another note, his post defense was that much better considering he only committed a single foul.
Player of the Game: Blake Hamilton
Since Drew picked Wigginton, I’m going to go with Hamilton. Blake had a great night with 21 points and I was shocked by how different he was today. His shooting was spot on and he did a fantastic job in transition. If we see this Blake Hamilton more often, he’ll be getting heavy minutes.
The Bottom Line
Drew: Remember, this game was against Pitt-Bradford. Almost every Bull played well tonight, but remember - this game was against Pitt-Bradford.
Robby: Great night all around but it was expected. There are still some kinks that need to be worked out but I’m excited to see what this team has to offer against division one talent. We’ll know more after going against a defense heavy team in Old Dominion.