To be frank, UB is in a situation this weekend, with a pair of road contests against top-ten opponents, to look for the smaller victories and successes. Saturday's 82-59 loss to #7 Duke in Cameroon Indoor featured plenty of the regular warts, but also some opportunities for different Bulls to step up.
As anyone would expect in an athletic and physical mismatch like tonight. Buffalo's signature trouble was fouls against the superior Blue Devils. Lamonte Bearden and Rodell Wigginton, easily UB's most aggressive offensive threats early, each committed a pair of infractions before the ten minute mark, and Bearden was whistled for a third later in the half. By halftime, the hosts had a 17-5 advantage in free throw attempts that was largely the difference as UB's ramshackle lineups held even in every other stat, save turnovers.
UB found balanced, if meager, production from its nine man rotation; Freshman CJ Massinburg led the Bulls in scoring with 17 points and had 4 rebounds to go with it. Duke's Brandon Ingram had a game-high 23 points, while Grayson Allen finished with a double-double.
Duke quickly seized control in the second half en route to the 23-point final margin. Wigginton and Bearden sitting opened up opportunities for deeper rotation players to see the floor, and given the venue and situation, Nikola Rakicevic and Nick Perkins found contributions in the starters' absences, finishing with 8 combined points and 9 combined rebounds.
For the second straight game, Buffalo struggled from distance, shooting just 5-23 on three point attempts. In the first half, UB time and time again found open shots from outside that just missed badly, and their first two makes came from the hands of freshman forward Nick Perkins.
Buffalo remains on the road this weekend to face another formidable opponent in #4 Iowa State Monday evening at 9:00 PM.