Extra points from the University at Buffalo’s win at Miami Tuesday night and St. Bonaventure’s loss at home to mighty Dayton:
X THE BULLS (10-8, 3-2) now have two road wins in the Mid-American Conference and a fair chance at a third Saturday at Western Michigan (7-11, 1-4). Western Michigan was supposed to be an upper-half team in the MAC this year but lost its best player, point-forward Connar Tava, for the season to a broken foot. He’s red-shirting. The MAC is so balanced that a 10-8 conference record might get you a top-four seed (with the right tie-breakers).
X UB POINT guard Lamonte Bearden sat out the Miami game with a sore foot, and UB reports his status remains day to day. Jarryn Skeete had seven points, four assists and one turnover against Miami. UB made 13 turnovers, one under its season average. So the offense is chugging along. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bearden sat out Saturday as a precaution.
X UB SENIOR wing Rodell Wigginton did not make the trip to Miami due to personal reasons, UB reports. UB classes don’t start until Monday, so the Bulls are staying on the road this week. Wigginton will not be with the team Saturday, either.
X THE BONNIES have no time to dwell on the loss to Dayton Tuesday. It’s onto Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday. VCU ranks 32nd in the nation, according to the Pomeroy ranking (which is more accurate than the RPI at this point of the year). VCU (13-5, 5-0) goes for its ninth straight win, at home Wednesday night against Duquesne. VCU’s defense is even better than Dayton’s. The Rams rank 19th in defensive efficiency and fourth in the nation in forcing turnovers, via the Pomeroy rankings. They’re second in the nation in steal percentage. Actually VCU’s roll started on Dec. 22 against UB, who they whacked, 90-69.
X BONA GOT ZERO points from its freshman 5-men, Jordan Tyson and Derrick Woods. Tyson (a red-shirt freshman) played 12 minutes. Woods played nine. They looked a young and not ready for prime time against Dayton’s three big “men,” and we mean men. It’s to be expected. Chalk it up as a learning experience. They get another learning experience against 6-7 bruiser Mo Alie-Cox Saturday.
Mark Schmidt on needing more from the two young bigs: “No question. We didn’t get a point from our bigs. You’ve got to get some easy baskets. Give Dayton credit. They do a great job in the post. They’re big and strong. We can’t be solely a perimeter team. Dion didn’t play as well as we needed him to play. Even though he had 10 and eight he had a little bit of an off day. He’s usually the guy that can give us some stuff in the paint. . . . They’re young. They’re going to have some good day sand some bad days.”
X DAYTON freshman Steve McElvene, a 6-11, 268-pounder, has an NBA body. He had 14 minutes, five points and two blocks but looked better than those numbers indicate. Maybe, if Bona’s lucky, he’ll be awesome as a sophomore next year and then turn pro.
X BONA’s Schmidt on his team’s comeback from 31 down to lose by six: “We can build on that. It’s a great lesson. When we play hard and aggressive we’re a really good team. We can’t play soft. We can’t play tentative. For whatever reason we did that in the first half.”
X DAYTON coach Archie Miller: “I thought our team for the first time took the floor with a mindset that we need to have moving forward. That was as good of a half of basketball we’ve played all season. The second half we had it at times but it got away from us. That’s kind of how our team is. We’re a little bit loosey goosey and don’t understand that a couple empty possessions can turn a game around. If there was another two minutes I don’t know if we’d have been able to finish it out. But we gotta get mentally tougher.”
X DAYTON’S MILLER on the play of Bona’s Marcus Posley and Jay Adams, who combined for 50 in the second half: “Any time in college basketball right now if you can just get the ball to the rim, you’re going to get called for a foul. That’s the other thing that happens with the new rules. Contact around the basket or on the bounce is to the guards’ advantage in these situations. Having two of those guys is really a weapon when it comes down to nip and tuck games.”
X BONA JUNIOR Courtney Stockard, the 6-5 junior college transfer who was supposed to be a key part of the offense, remains out with the broken foot suffered in October. Bona hasn't announced anything on his status, but it seems obvious he has to red-shirt at this point in the season.