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Buffalo Men’s Basketball opens season with 82-67 win over St. Francis (PA)

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Despite struggling from beyond the arc, the Bulls handle the NEC preseason favorite with ease

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Buffalo vs Kentucky Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

UB Men’s Basketball opened up their season with a bang on Tuesday at Alumni Arena, taking down St. Francis (PA), 82-67.

The biggest thing that jumps out on the box score for the Bulls is the abysmal three-point shooting and the game’s score because of it. Despite starting the game 4-28 from beyond the arc, Buffalo still managed to create a double-digit lead in the later stages of the second half. Once those three-point shots started falling, The Red Flash had no chance of winning this one.

The way this game played out is the tried and true formula of the Nate Oats era: Lock down on defense, and the shots will eventually start falling to pull away. UB never panicked and kept going at it from beyond the arc despite many successive failures.

St. Francis did a lot of things right, cementing that they’ll be a formidable team in the NEC, but a whopping 20 turnovers and 36.4% shooting prevented them from capitalizing on a slow Buffalo start. An 18-point swing off of turnovers isn’t something you can give up to a team that is receiving AP votes.

Leading the way for UB in this game was Nick Perkins, who is playing some of his best basketball right now down low. He finished the night with 16 points, 9 rebounds and a pair of blocks to his stat line. A fast, athletic bruiser like Perkins is going to be crucial in UB’s next matchup.

CJ Massinburg and Jayvon Graves were the two other players for UB to reach double figures. Massinburg had a do-everything day of 11 points, 8 rebounds and four assists while Graves, who has settled in nicely in his sophomore year, hauled in 12 points and four rebounds.

The Bulls’ other top performers in this one were Dontay Caruthers and Davonta Jordan. Both were headaches to deal with on defense as each also brought in eight points and five assists each. Interestingly enough, Caruthers didn’t make a field goal in the game to get his points total, but instead went perfect from the charity stripe.

Buffalo now has a daunting task to face. The Bulls will see if they have any leftover magic from their upset over Arizona last season to take down #13 West Virginia in Morgantown. If they can get their three-point shots falling, UB has the tools to dismantle the Mountaineers’ signature full-court press. That game tips off on Friday at 9:00 p.m. with coverage on ESPNU.