It was a big night for UB Basketball as the Bulls took on the Daemen Wildcats in an exhibition game. This game contained a lot of surprises that gave us a lot of insight on this team. If you want a quick rundown on what happened, just head over to Matt's recap.
There's a lot to takeaway from this game so Drew and I are both going to tackle it head on:
1. CJ Massinburg shocks us all
I'm going to put it plain and simple: Massinburg looked absolutely awful the first half. He was 1-4 in that stretch and he was on pace to backing up my observations in open practice two weeks ago. The biggest falter happened when he attempted a three point shot while out of bounds. Luckily, the refs didn't catch it. When the 2nd half came CJ made Daemen look like a fool. He shot 7-9 and a perfect 4-4 from three.
2. Many gaps in the post
There were many moments of great defense, but UB let Daemen into the post way too many times. It's because of this that Daemen stayed in the game for as long as they did
3. Rodell and Lamonte struggled so much
These two were turnover machines and did not look good at all. Together, they turned over the ball 8 times. Shot selection was terrible by the both of them and some of Bearden's decisions made me want to gouge out my eyes. Definitely not their best games.
I've been giving a lot of praise about Willie Conner. UB is definitely going to rely on him a lot this year. Conner showed that he's a very smart player. He always seemed poised and relaxed. He only committed one foul (WHICH SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ONE) and finished the night up with 18 points. Expect 30 minutes a night from him for the rest of the year
5. Nate Oats' Coaching Style
Oats is definitely taking after Hurley and I'm glad. It brings a great product to the floor that is exciting (and at times frustrating). What I noticed the most is that he's going to let the players play. The only times he butted in was when things got out of hand and it's a great thing. I like it better than having a set play.
Player of the Game- CJ Massinburg
It's such a no brainer. Massinburg played like an experienced senior in the second half. I hope he can keep up the good performances. I could easily see 12 points per game from him.
1. All Hail the Trey
Last year the Bulls shot 34.1% from beyond the arc, and it was an area of opportunity across the board. They shot 42.9% last night, which is obviously an improvement. Perkins shot 100%, Massinburg shot 83.3%, and Conner shot 40%. Even with Skeete out, shooting over 40% for the players on the court exceeded my expectations.
2. Perkins on Defense
I don't mean to specifically call out Perkins, because there were defensive issues from a number of players throughout the game. Nick had a nice 1st game and showed that he will be a challenging match-up with both strong post play, and a nice 3 point shot.
There were a handful of times that the Daemen offense seemed to confuse him with who he was matched up against on defense. The player would then slip behind the coverage for an easy dish and score. I'm not concerned, Perkins is still young and those defensive intricacies will come in time.
3. Turnovers - Yuck
Wigginton, Bearden, & Hamilton turned the ball over 4 times, while Massinburg contributed 5. CJ has already been praised, so I won't be redundant, but let's not forget about his turnovers last night. He seemed poised and confident running the offense without Bearden on the court, which is a huge plus. Most of his turnovers occurred on bad passes rather than mishandling the ball. I can deal with that for now. Decision making is not usually a strong suit with freshmen. Luckily, Daemen was not able to capitalize off of our turnovers, but that won't be the case with most of the teams we will face this year.
4. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
That was a bad reference to our depth this year. 13 players saw action, and if you take out the walk-ons, all 10 guys had at least a point. Also to be noted that Kadiri, Skeete, and Rakcevic sat this game out, and all of them will see the court this year. So walk-ons aside, thats 13 guys who could contribute on any given night. Sure Hamilton looked raw and awkward, and Diane had a rough game, but you could make an argument for a lot of these guys to see significant minutes this year. This might be the biggest difference from last year where we essentially ran a 7 man rotation.
In my opinion, this team looked more energetic than last year's. They had great hustle both crashing the glass and transitioning back to defense. There was only 1 shot clock violation all game by the Bulls (Daemen had none), so that shows that Oats feels comfortable letting his team work in transition, rather than setting up plays.
6. PINO NOIR
Christian Pino had 2 points late in the game. I'd argue that there are no better points than Pino points.
Player of the Game - CJ
You could make an argument for Conner or Perkins as well, but points are sexy and even sexier when coming from a freshman that we had pretty much no expectation.
Robby: A lot of work to do but it was a great start. There were way to many fouls and the sloppy decision making needs to be addressed in the future.
Drew: Too many fouls, too many turnovers, foul shooting was bad, but I still have a really good feeling about this team, and you should too.