Outside shooting is a concern for the University at Buffalo offense early in the college basketball season. The Bulls hit just 1 of 13 shots from three-point range in losing to St. Bonaventure, 60-58, Wednesday night.
The Bulls are reliant on senior guard Jarryn Skeete to provide perimeter shooting. However, Skeete was limited to 24 minutes due to foul trouble and only took three shots in the game. He didn’t make any and was held scoreless.
“We’ve got to do a better job finding him because he shoots it way too good to not score in a game,” said UB coach Nate Oats. “It’s probably more on us than it is on him, I think. . . . Maybe run some plays for him and get him going early.”
Skeete had hit 36 percent from three-point range the first five games.
UB’s second three-point shooting option is junior college transfer Wilile Conner. He had seven points and went 0 for 4 from behind the arc.
“We can’t have both those guys not hit a three,” Oats said.
Records: Bona is 4-2. UB is 4-3.
How Bona won: Bona senior forward Dion Wright scored a career-high 26 points. He hit 11 of his 12 field goals in the paint. Bona played more composed overall and more under control on offense on a night when some of the key players on both teams had off nights.
Bona bricks: Bona was just 2 of 21 from three-point range. Senior guard Marcus Posley had 13 points but was 1 of 8 from three-point range.
Bulls rally: Bona held a 58-50 lead with 6:05 left. Then the Bonnies went eight straight possessions without scoring. Bona made turnovers on four of those possessions. That allowed UB to rally. A coast-to-coast layup by Lamonte Bearden pulled UB within 58-55 with 2:22 left. Two Rodell Wigginton free throws tied it with 37 seconds left.
Winning score: Bona worked the ball around on its final possession and got Posley an open shot from the free-throw line with 8 seconds left. Bearden drove the length of the floor but saw a running shot blocked by Derrick Woods at the buzzer.
No time out: UB coach Nate Oats explained why he did not call time out after Posley’s basket with 8 seconds left.
“In hindsight maybe I should have called time out,” he said. “I thought Monte had been getting to the rim. Who knows what defense he comes out of the time out with? So I thought I’d let it roll and see what Monte could get up. He didn’t get a good shot up. So you second-guess yourself on that.”
UB’s player of the game: Wigginton, the senior wingman, had 16 points and 10 rebounds.
“We took some bad shots that we shouldn’t have taken,” Wigginton said. “I feel like we forced up some things. We just weren’t in our rhythm today.”
Turnovers: UB made 21 turnovers. Bona made 16. The Bulls got 12 points from Bearden on 4 of 9 shooting. But he also had six turnovers and just one assist. He forced some drives to the basket.
Bulls consolation: “I still can’t figure out how we were even in the game to be honest with you,” Oats said. “To be in the game as bad as we were on offense, I thought we showed some resolve from the guys who were in the game at the end who were getting stops and some defensive rebounds.”
Quotable: “We won the game not because of our offense,” said Bona coach Mark Schmidt. “I thought we defended so much better in the second half. They had eight layups on us in the first half. They were just driving us. In the second half I thought we sat down and guarded them. We held them to 38 percent. Our three point defense was good.”
In the house: The crowd was 4,192 at Alumni Arena.
Series history: It was the sixth straight year the two teams met. Bona has won five of the six.
Next up: UB plays at defending national champion Duke at 5:15 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2. Bona plays host to Ohio at 4 p.m. Saturday. It will be televised on Time Warner Cable.