The Daemen Wildcats returned a ton of pieces from last year’s squad and it showed. With four of their five leading scorers back, the Buffalo Bulls had a hard time putting them away. Many expected UB to win this game easily, but the Bulls played sloppy, struggled on team chemistry, and couldn’t get any momentum together. Once again, a heroic Nick Perkins dunk sealed the deal and the Bulls finally won 87-82 in overtime.
The first half started well. Nine minutes in Buffalo had a commanding 18-9 lead and it looked like there wasn’t going to be a problem heading forward. CJ Massinburg and Willie Conner were doing everything they needed to ensure that Buffalo jumped out of the gate.
Everything fell apart from there.
Daemen quickly got on a hot streak and showed that Alumni Arena wasn’t full of Bulls fans. Instead, the away team surprisingly had the home court advantage. Daemen clawed into the Bulls’ lead and by halftime they were down one point as the Bulls held the 30-29 advantage.
Daemen being close to the Bulls at the half wasn’t what was concerning though. The biggest worry was that all but two points scored from the Bulls were from the trio of CJ Massinburg, Willie Conner, and Nick Perkins. Dontay Caruthers was the only other Bull who could get a bucket.
The second half approached and Buffalo struggled even more. Daemen was hitting crazy shots and the Bulls were lazy on defense. The Wildcats lead for three-fourths of the second half. Massinburg, Conner, and Perkins continued to be the only three who could score.
Only one other hero emerged at this time and that was Nikola Rakicevic. With only 5 minutes played in the entire second half, the Serbian provided an offensive spark in which he brought in 7 points for the Bulls. Without Rakicevic, Buffalo loses this game way before the end of regulation.
When the Bulls made it to overtime, the play certainly did not change. The aforementioned trio played with an extreme desire to win and with grit that even a surging Daemen team couldn’t beat. With 17 seconds left on the clock, Davonta Jordan sent a pass to Nick Perkins, in which the 6-9 sophomore promptly smashed the ball into the hoop. Perkins was fouled during that play and converted the and-one. From there, Daemen collapsed and CJ Massinburg got another dunk on the Wildcats before game’s end.
Massinburg lead the Bulls with an astonishing 27 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. Nick Perkins and Willie Conner also brought in 25 and 24 points respectively. Do the math and that’s 87% of Buffalo’s scoring through three players. That’s quite the difference compared to the more balanced scoring we saw from the Bulls last year.
The Bulls open their regular season campaign this upcoming Friday, November 11th at Niagara. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 PM and the game will be streamed via purpleeagles.com.
More will be said about this game later.