University at Buffalo star point guard Lamonte Bearden has been suspended from the men’s basketball team for violating team rules. Bearden is sitting out Tuesday night’s game against the University of Toledo.
The suspension is being termed indefinite, according to UB. Indications The News has received is the sanction could last several games.
UB also will be down a second player for the near future. Backup freshman forward Nikola Rakicevic returned to his native Serbia because of the death of his mother.
Bearden, a 6-foot-3 sophomore from Wisconsin, leads the UB team in scoring at 13.5 points a game. He also leads the team in assists and steals. He’s averaging 28.8 minutes a game. Bearden ranks 13th in the Mid-American Conference in scoring, ninth in assists and third in steals. He was a member of the MAC all-freshman team last season.
With Bearden out of the lineup, UB likely will let senior guard Jarryn Skeete take on more of the point-guard duties, and freshman CJ Massinburg will see more playing time.
Skeete is averaging 8.7 points and 29 minutes a game, and Massinburg is averaging 9.7 points and 24.7 minutes.
UB has succeeded this season with a balanced scoring attack. Including Bearden, seven players average between 7 and 13 points a game. While he is out there will be more pressure on all those players to produce on offense. Skeete played well at the point in two games last month when Bearden was out with an ankle injury. Skeete had 16 assists and three turnovers in the games, and UB won both.
Rakicevic has averaged 1.9 points and 10.4 minutes in MAC games. With he and Bearden out, UB is down to eight available scholarship players.