The University at Buffalo men's team will not begin its play in the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic until Friday morning but the Bulls already have been busy since they arrived in Northern Ireland on Tuesday morning..
Wednesday was the Bulls' first full day in Belfast and the schedule included a visit to St. John the Baptist School where they put on an exhibition of dunking and other basketball techniques for the students and then held its first the first practice at the game venue, SSE Belfast Arena. Classic games will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
UB (5-0) ranked 21st and 20th in two national polls this week will face Milwaukee (2-4) at 5:30 a.m. (Buffalo time) on Friday morning as SSE Arena, part of a sports, entertainment and shopping complex located in the Titanic Quarter of the city.
The team arrived Tuesday morning on AerLingus departing from Toronto and stopping in Dublin. There was sightseeing and a practice at Ulster University, where a new basketball floor had been installed especially for the the eight teams in the Belfast Classic to practice on.
Play in the Classic opens Thursday when Marist (1-4) faces Dartmouth (3-3) and LIU Brooklyn (3-3) takes on Albany (2-4).
After Friday's UB-Milwaukee clash, the San Francisco Dons (6-0) and Stephen F. Austin (4-1) will meet. All games in the Belfast Classic will be televised live by the CBS Sports Network.
Thursday's winners and losers will meet each other on Friday night after the UB-Milwaukee and USF-SFA games.
The UB will face either San Francisco or Stephen F. Austin on Saturday morning (Buffalo time TBA).
Both UB and Milwaukee won stateside games of the Belfast Classic last week. The Bulls defeated Dartmouth and Marist at Alumni Arena. Milwaukee defeated LIU Brooklyn, 92-87, in overtime and Albany, 79-70, at UWM Panther Arena.
Jake Wright scored 23 points, making 7 of 9 3-point shots, and Milwaukee shot 58.5 percent in the victory over Albany in the arena that was formerly the home of the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA.
Although Milwaukee and UB have not met since the 1012-13 season, Wright has faced the Bulls. He is a graduate student transfer from Miami (Ohio), which handed UB one of its three Mid-American Conference defeats last season. Wright scored six points in the RedHawks' loss at UB and was scoreless in limited action in the win in Oxford.
Besides Wright, the other Milwaukee starters are expected to be: junior college transfers Amir Allen (6-8) and Bobby Arthur-Williams (6-7) and Division I transfers Darius Roy (6-2) and DeAndre Abram (6-8). Roy began his career at Mercer before moving on to junior college and Abram played two seasons at George Mason.
Pat Baldwin is in his second season as Milwaukee coach. He guided the Panthers to a 16-17 record in his first season, 8-10 in the Horizon League. One of the Milwaukee victories was over Loyola of Chicago, an NCAA Final Four team.
Canisius women win first for new coach
D'Jhai Petterson-Ricks nailed two clutch free throws with 28 seconds left and Sara Hinriksdottir had 16 points as Canisius (1-5) won its first women's basketball under coach Scott Hemer, 48-42, over the University at Albany at SEFCU Arena on Wednesday night.
Anndea Zeigler's basket with 41 seconds left gave the Griffs a 45-41 lead. Free throws by Petterson-Ricks and Hinriksdottir closed it out.
Daemen women win at Gannon
Late 3-point baskets by Jordan Heinold (Immaculata) and Jorden Buchsenschutz in a closing 11-0 run helped Daemen's women's basketball team to a 58-52 over Gannno at Hammermill Center in Erie, Pa. It was Daemen's first win over Gannon since 2004-05 and first at Hammermill sicne 1996-97.
Tiara Filbert (Batavia) led Daemen with 17 points.
Daemen returns to action on Dec. 5 with its East Coast Conference opener at Roberts Wesleyan. That game has been selected to be broadcast as part of the NCAA Division II Basketball Showcase, iot was announced Wednesday.