After a lackluster showing against Robert Morris, Buffalo got back on track today with their matchup with Maine. The Bulls saw a strong defensive effort coupled with some of the smoothest offense we’ve seen in a while. With the 79-60 win, the Bulls move to 6-7 to end their non-conference slate.
After having over a week to prepare for this game, UB did not come out with a strong first five minutes. The Bulls were decent on the defensive side of the ball, but their offense was brutal to watch. Buffalo didn’t look like they what to do in certain situations when they were trying to score the ball.
UB got settled in from there after opening with a 7-2 deficit. The Bulls went on an exemplary 13-0 run as Hamilton, Perkins, Kadiri, and Jordan all brought in contributions to give the Bulls a lead. Maine soon caught up as UB then had trouble executing defense from the perimeter.
As the first half closed, Buffalo saw fantastic defense when Quate McKinzie and Dontay Caruthers on the floor. Even better, they brought solid contributions on offense even though it didn’t show up on the box score. UB’s offense looked smoother as the ball moved around more and it showed as the Bulls pulled out a 10 point lead when the first 20 minutes were up.
Maine came out of the gate running to start the second half and that lead head coach Nate Oats to do a four man sub to get the game back on track. UB saw more big minutes from McKinzie and Caruthers as a result but the biggest surprise came from Nikola Rakicevic. Besides passing the ball to Nate Oats, the Serbian brought capable defense and did a great job at getting to the rim. Still unpolished, things are looking up for him.
UB had gone on a 12-0 run as they approached the 10 minutes to go mark. UB finally seemed to find a groove on offense and never looked back from there as they kept pouring on the best offense we’ve seen since at least their matchup with Pittsburgh. With 2:30 remaining, UB saw minutes from Christian Pino once the score reached 77-57.
The Bulls were lead by a balanced scoring attack. Blake Hamilton and CJ Massinburg each had 15 on the night. Nick Perkins and Willie Conner also made it into double digits with 11 and 10 points respectively. Quate McKinzie just missed out on double digits on 9 with perfect 4-4 shooting.
The Bulls are back in action on January 3rd when they take a road trip to open up Mid-American Conference play. Squaring off with Toledo, the game will tip-off on 6:00PM and air on ESPN3.