If you're accustomed to easy blowouts during season kick-off exhibitions, it took some time for Men's Basketball to take control in today's 87-68 win over crosstown opponent Daemen, but the host Bulls did for the most part coast to the win.
On top of new faces accounting for over half the roster, the Bulls were shorthanded today from the expected in-season lineup. Jarryn Skeete is still working back from a concussion, David Kadiri did not dress, and Nikola Rakicevic has not yet been ruled eligible by the NCAA. All three should be part of the regular rotation this season.
Among the remaining players, the Buffalo offense was unpolished but evenly distributed early and found more rhythm late. Freshman CJ Massinburg stepped in at point due to Lamonte Bearden's foul trouble, impressing to the tune of 25 points on 5-6 shooting from distance. JUCO transfer Willie Conner was also a consistent threat with 18 points. In spurts, a number of other new or like-new faces also shone. True freshman Nick Perkins did a little of everything, scoring 12 points and pulling down 8 rebounds, while a slimmer Raheem Johnson and Ikenna Smart managed 9 and 3 nd 4 and 11, respectively.
Word from campus this fall has already indicated that the defense was further ahead than the offense, and without Skeete and Rakicevic especially, it's hard to grow too concerned about that aspect of today's showing. Other areas are more troubling, however. Buffalo committed 27 fouls, didn't convert fouls into points (10-19 from the line), and turned the ball over 24 times as Lamonte Bearden was limited to 19 minutes by foul trouble.
We'll have more on this game tomorrow. For now, circle next Friday on your calendars, when the Bulls open their season for real against Pitt-Bradford.