BUFFALO, NY – Friday night started with the University at Buffalo men's basketball team celebrating their 2017-18 season by raising their championship banner to the rafters and by the time it was over, the 2018-19 squad had fans excited about a repeat performance come March. The Bulls dominated the visiting Daemen Wildcats, 97-50, as UB led by double figures for almost the entire night.
The Wildcats were ranked 22nd in the preseason Division II poll, but the Bulls hit the ground running from the opening tip, scoring 54 points in the paint and having 32 fast-break points as they turned 21 Daemen turnovers into 24 points.
The Bulls played the night without their starting point guard from a year ago Davonta Jordan, who was nursing a minor injury, but senior Dontay Caruthers stepped into the starting lineup and gave the Bulls an immediate jolt. The Bulls led 11-8 early when they went on a quick 6-0 run to take a 17-8 lead following a fast break layup from Caruthers. The run expanded to a 17-2 run following four straight points from senior Nick Perkins giving UB the 28-10 lead with 9:45 left.
A fast break three-pointer from senior CJ Massinburg extended the lead to 39-17 and UB took its largest lead of the half at 41-17 following a pair of free throws from Tra'Von Fagan. The Bulls took a 42-21 lead into the break.
Leading 49-23 in the second half, the Bulls broke the game wide open as they went on a 31-7 run, taking a 50-point lead at 80-30 following a dunk from sophomore Jayvon Graves with 7:27 left. A bucket from sophomore Brock Bertram gave UB its largest lead of the game at 89-34 with 4:28 left and Buffalo went on to win the contest, 97-50.
"I thought this was the best effort we have given in an exhibition game since I have been here," said head coach Nate Oats. "Even though we didn't shoot the ball great, our guys were locked in on both sides of the ball and it showed with our performance. I give Daemen a lot of credit and they are good team that is going to win a lot of games this season."
10 different players found the scoring column and six finished in double figures in scoring. Freshman Ronaldo Segu led UB off the bench with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting. He also had a team-high seven assists in his first collegiate performance.
Massinburg had 12 points, while Jeremy Harris finished with 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds. He also added four assists. Perkins added 11 points as did freshman Jeenathan Williams. Caruthers finished with 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
Graves and Bertram each finished with nine points as Bertram added six rebounds and a steal.
As a team, the Bulls shot 51.4% from the floor, including going 30-of-41 from inside the arc, good for 73.1%. The Bulls held a 49-29 advantage on the glass and finished the night with 25 assists to just nine turnovers.
UB will be off for 10 days before opening the regular season at home on Tuesday, Nov. 6 when they welcome in St. Francis (PA). That game will be part of a rare basketball/football doubleheader and it will tip off at 4:00 pm.