It could’ve been a scary ending for the men’s basketball team in their exhibition with Daemen. The Bulls took all of regulation and an overtime to finally put the Wildcats to rest. The 87-82 win was highlighted by massive performances through CJ Massinburg, Nick Perkins, and Willie Conner. The trio had 27, 25, and 24 points respectively.
Firstly, I said not to sleep on Daemen. They brought back a ton of talent and would seriously have a shot at taking down some lower level Division I teams out there. Secondly, this was only an exhibition. I honestly doubt that this is the way the team will perform throughout the season. There’s obviously some kinks to work out but they aren’t as bad as they looked in this game.
So, one thing that should be noted is that five of the people who played were on the floor for less than 15 minutes in the game’s entirety. On top of that, only five guys played any significant minutes in the second half. I think UB was messing with the rotation a bit and trying new things, but we’ll see about that when we get a game against a Division I opponent.
My biggest concern for the Bulls right now lies at point guard. I really think Buffalo needs a designated point guard to have any success. The role changed hands between Massinburg, Caruthers, and Jordan all night and I feel like the offense suffered because of it. If we’re going to limit the loss of Lamonte Bearden, I really think there needs to be consistency with who’s running the offense.
Next, there was a noticeable absence from some players. I’m still heavily questioning how we didn’t see more of James Jones, Raheem Johnson, or Ikenna Smart. I can somewhat understand leaving a freshman like Jones out of the equation, but taking Johnson and Smart out of the picture really hurts UB’s size. It’s not like they played so awful to the point where they only deserved six and nine minutes a piece. It really makes me question if Oats was trying some new things out.
Fine, you can pull Johnson and Smart out, but it was head scratching to see Quate McKinzie stay in the game that long. McKinzie had an awful shooting night and was only able to pull down boards. I simply can’t answer why he was out there over two more experienced players except the fact that we were trying to get him more playing time. I don’t see that as an awful guess considering Quate seems to be having trouble finding his role in the offense.
I think the big lesson here is that we shouldn’t worry about exhibitions. I feel like something was off, but we’ll probably never know. If this repeats Friday at Niagara, then there will be something to discuss. But overall, I was glad with how the team stuck it out and got the win. We saw what huge impacts and improvements we’ll get from Massinburg, Conner, and Perkins this season. Adding Blake Hamilton — who didn’t play — into the mix should keep our hopes up.