No one can accuse the University at Buffalo's men's basketball team of loading up on Little Sisters of the Poor opponents in the season's early going. The Bulls tonight take on their third Big East Conference school in their first five games when they play on the road against 17th-ranked Pittsburgh.
The Bulls, whose 2-2 record includes a loss to Connecticut and a win over South Florida, nearly pulled a "shock the world" upset against Pitt last December in Amherst. Pitt was ranked second in the country and found itself trailing the Bulls by 10 points with 14:09 left in the game. The Panthers were fortunate to escape a packed Alumni Arena with a 70-67 victory.
Tonight's rematch (7:30 p.m., Radio 1520 AM), however, is in friendlier confines for the Panthers. Pitt has an 84-8 all-time record in the Petersen Events Center, good for a .913 winning percentage.
The Panthers are trying for their eighth straight 5-0 start to a season. They lead the all-time series between the schools, 7-1.
The Bulls will need to find a way to contain Pittsburgh's Sam Young, a 6-6 power forward who is averaging 18.8 points and 9.8 rebounds.
UB is trying to rebound from Tuesday's sloppy 80-63 loss at Niagara. The Bulls shot 21 for 60 from the field and committed a season-high 26 turnovers. Coach Reggie Witherspoon was not pleased afterward.
"There are nights like that," Witherspoon said, "but I'm not going to sit here and tell you I'm happy with something."
Nova holds on
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Corey Fisher made his first basket, then another. The Villanova freshman didn't stop until the No. 20 Wildcats finished off Central Florida in the opening round of Old Spice Classic.
"I just got a little confident when I hit my first shot," the 6-foot-1 freshman guard from the Bronx said after scoring 10 of his 18 points in the second half of a 76-68 victory at Disney World on Thursday night.
Fisher missed the Wildcats' season opener because of tendinitis in his left knee, then played four scoreless minutes in his college debut against Bucknell earlier this week.
Nevertheless, he looked very comfortable taking some of the offensive burden off Villanova stars Scottie Reynolds and Shane Clark.
"We're not even seeing him at 100 percent," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "He missed a lot of practice. . . . But he's been very, very coachable. I'm very pleased with his effort."
Reynolds scored 19 and made five free throws in the final 1:42. Reggie Redding joined Fisher in delivering a clutch second-half performance for the Wildcats (3-0), who led by 10 before UCF (2-1) rallied to keep the outcome in doubt until the closing seconds.
"We are a little unorganized and a little sloppy," Wright said of his young team. "UCF was a very organized, experienced team."