After a convincing showing against Maine, Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball went on the road to play the Toledo Rockets in their Mid-American Conference opener. In an abysmal showing, the Bulls were trampled 86-54 by the Rockets.
The first half quickly became a defensive nightmare for Buffalo. Toledo looked like they couldn’t miss as a shot as they went 61% from the field to start the half. Toledo’s triple scoring threat of Williams, Sanford, and Taylor had 16, 10, and 7 points respectively and didn’t look like they were going to slow down.
Only two of those players did so.
Williams finished the night with 26 and Sanford had 22 points on the night. Toledo had relatively no problem cruising to the win in the final 20 minutes thanks to the sizable gap opened up by those two as a result.
Men’s basketball now sits at 6-8 overall this season and hasn’t garnered a win over a top-150 Kenpom team this season. The team looks even more dysfunctional now that they are playing at the same level they did when facing tougher opponents.
Almost all of Buffalo’s problems on the season overall fastened together in this game to show how much work this team would need to make to be top-four in the conference, let alone to defend their back-to-back titles. Although the Bulls did a great job taking care of the ball, they shot poorly, looked confused on defense, and couldn’t grab a rebound to save their lives.
It’s clear that UB’s due for a reality check. The team chemistry isn’t where it needs to be and certain players are trying to do things out of their expertise. Take Blake Hamilton for example, he’s trying to do way too much now compared to last season. I’d rather we see him from the wing or at the four spot.
Both Willie Conner and Nick Perkins are becoming too reliant from beyond the arc when both were doing amazing things last year getting into the lane. Finally, Davonta Jordan’s defense is full of holes at and hasn’t proven that he’s capable of leading the offense.
It’s not an attack on these players, but this can’t be the way to a third consecutive MAC Championship. Luckily, there are shining lights through the cracks. Quate McKinzie brought a commanding 12 point performance in the late stages of the game. His defense was energizing and the Bulls should give him a larger role to help out.
Dontay Caruthers may not be a prolific scorer at this point in time, but he has proven he’s the best option at point guard. The offense runs smoothest with him and next to Conner he’s the best perimeter defender.
Anyway, Buffalo will have the rest of the week to figure things out before they face an even bigger challenge today. Eastern Michigan’s 2-3 zone has been ruthless on this team ever since Bobby Hurley came to Buffalo. That game will tip-off this Saturday at 2:30 PM.