Most of us that follow the MAC expect both of Buffalo’s basketball teams to compete for the MAC title. I personally had questions about both squads and I felt that they answered them tonight. I know they were just exhibition games against smaller division schools, but I was still impressed with what I saw.
Buffalo Bulls vs. Bloomsburg Huskies
The women’s squad tipped off first and took on the Bloomsburg Huskies. The Bulls were intense on both sides of the floor for most of the game, and came away with a 64-32 victory.
The million dollar question coming into the season, for me at least, is how will the Bulls replace superstar JoAnna Smith. I think they did a good job of it tonight. Stephanie Reid is a bundle of contagious energy and the Bulls were able to capitalize on offense because of great defensive play. 45 of their 64 points came off of 39 Bloomsburg turnovers.
Another promising sign was the scoring from the entire team. 11 different Bulls scored tonight, with Cassie Oursler getting 20 and Stephanie Reid getting 12. While the Bulls didn’t shoot particularly well tonight, it was encouraging to see how many Bulls were willing to take a shot. 5 different players were 1-5. While they may sound like a bad stat, I think it’s the complete opposite. That’s 5 players that have the green light, and at some point those shots will start dropping.
Buffalo Bulls vs. Daemen Wildcats
Last season, the Bulls were one of the most disappointing teams in my mind. 17-15 and 11-7 might not seem all that terrible, but with a squad like the Bulls, I felt it was. Early in the year, the team would stand around on offense and chuck up jumpers that just weren’t dropping. Later in the year, they did start driving to the basket more, but they even missed a lot of those.
This year, the Bulls are loaded with talent, of that I have no doubt. I was curious to see if they fixed some of the problems from last year. In their 77-55 beating of Daemen, I felt like they did. This was the same Daemen that took them to overtime last season.
While they were far from perfect, I did think the Bulls did a much better job rotating on defense and moving the ball on offense. Nick Perkins led the team in scoring with 20 on 9-14 shooting so I really can’t criticize his game too much, but I will. I thought he spent a little too much time outside the arch on the offensive end. Take that criticism with a grain of salt, because I think he has the potential to be the MAC Player of the Year.
The second leading scorer was Jeremy Harris with 13. While his overall shooting was great at 5 of 14, but he did hit 3 of 7 treys. He also pulled down 11 rebounds. I think the JUCO star will be as advertised. C.J. Massingburg came off the bench and scored 13, too. When he is 100%, this Bulls team is going to be a force.
If I were a Bulls fan, I would have left tonight’s games feeling pretty good about the upcoming season.