St. Bonaventure (6-2) at Buffalo (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 7, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Arena (6,100) -- Buffalo, New York. Television: TWSN. Home Record: SBU 4-0, UB 2-0. Away Record: SBU 0-1, UB 0-2. Neutral Record: SBU 2-1, UB 0-0. Conference Record: SBU 0-0, UB 0-0. Series Record: St. Bonaventure leads, 6-1.
GAME NOTES: Empire State rivals clash at Alumni Arena on Saturday afternoon, as the Buffalo Bulls play host to the St. Bonaventure Bonnies in non- conference action.
St. Bonaventure is off to an impressive 6-2 start, with the highlight of the young campaign coming in the Gulf Coast Showcase last week, but after wins over Southern Illinois (83-71) and Wagner (70-67), it ultimately fell short of upending Louisiana Tech in the championship game, 76-72. The Bonnies last played on Tuesday night, when they dismissed UMass-Lowell at home, 67-58.
Meanwhile, Buffalo's early slate of games has been rather light with just four matchups thus far. After dropping a pair of road games at Texas A&M (82-58) and Niagara (92-81) to start, the Bulls registered strong home wins over Robert Morris (81-66) and Delaware State (65-55) to pull even at 2-2.
St. Bonaventure won last season's matchup with Buffalo, 82-79, at home on Dec. 1, 2012, to extend its lead in the all-time series to 6-1.
Although they trailed by three heading into halftime of their latest game, the Bonnies came out of the break with a 12-3 run and never looked back. It was certainly a forgettable offensive performance for the squad, which shot just 33.3 percent from the floor (including 1-of-14 from 3-point range), but it helped make up for those deficiencies with a strong 28-of-34 showing at the foul line. Marquise Simmons was stellar in the triumph with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Andell Cumberbatch also notched a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards. Matthew Wright added 15 points, although he did so on just 3- of-13 shooting. SBU usually has much more success from the floor, as it makes greater than 45 percent of its field goal tries for 73.9 points per game, and it also boasts strong margins in terms of scoring (+11.3), rebounding (+8.3) and turnovers (+2.5). Wright is the go-to option with 18.4 points per game, although he'd surely like to improve his field goal percentage (.395). Charlon Kloof (12.3 ppg) is the only other player in double figures, but Youssou Ndoye, Simmons and Cumberbatch all net between nine and 10 points per game.
Buffalo was also locked in a tight, low-scoring battle its last time out, but it was able to outlast Delaware State by shooting 47.7 percent from the floor compared to 38.9 percent for the Hornets, and outscoring them from the free- throw line, 16-8. Shannon Evans provided a spark off the bench with 13 points, while Will Regan and Jarod Oldham tallied 12 points apiece. Javon McCrea was also solid with nine points, eight rebounds and three blocks. The Bulls up- and-down season is accurately depicted in their stats, as they score 73.0 ppg while allowing 71.0 ppg. Javon McCrea has firmly established himself as one of best forwards in the country during his career, and his senior season has been no different with 18.2 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game, all while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor. Joshua Freelove (12.0 ppg) is the team's top threat from the perimeter, while Oldham (9.8 ppg) is averaging 5.2 assists and 2.0 steals per contest.
It's been a week since Buffalo has been on the floor, so some rusty play early on is to be expected, but once the Bulls get going victory should come behind another strong performance by McCrea.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Buffalo 74, St. Bonaventure 71
12/07 10:37:19 ET