The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team will come home from South Carolina with two close wins and a loss to Connecticut that it should not be embarrassed by.
The UB women will return from the West Coast with two losses, but with a barometer of what they need to do to play again with the national powers as they have done in the NCAA tournament. UB fell to No. 3 ranked Stanford, 88-69, Sunday at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, Calif.
Coach Jim Whitesell’s Bulls (4-3) finished play in the Charleston Classic with a 75-74 victory over a Division I transfer-laden Missouri State team in the fifth-place game of the consolation bracket. It came after a close win over Towson two days before.
Senior Antwain Johnson sank two free throws with 5.7 seconds left to deliver the Bulls their fourth victory in six starts. Johnson was bumped as he was attempting to move into position for a shot to the right of the lane with time running down.
After Johnson came through at the line, the Bulls had withstood a late attempt by Tyrik Dixon, which went off the rim and was rebounded by the Bulls’ Josh Mballa.
UB received strong performances from several areas. Davonta Jordan led with a career-high 25 points, including 5 of 6 on 3-point attempts.
Sophomore Jeenathan Williams also scored a career high with 17 points. Jayvon Graves had 11 points and Mballa provided an inside presence with seven points and team-high seven rebounds against Gaige Prim (21 points), and Julio Da Silva (15 points).
Da Silva had nine rebounds and Prim seven.
UB led, 31-30, at the half after building its largest lead of the game, 13 points (31-18). Missouri State’s biggest lead was three points (16-13), also in the first half.
The Bulls led by as many as nine, 56-47, in the second half. Missouri State’s only lead of the half was after Prim scored on a layup to make it 74-73 with 47 seconds left.
The UB women received two good tests on the West Coast, losing at San Jose State on Thursday and to the Cardinal, which is usually in the national championship conversation, on Sunday.
Stanford (5-0) never trailed in the game, but UB hung with coach Tara VanDerveer’s team for a half.
The Cardinal led, 35-32, at the break before outscoring the Bulls, 53-37, over the last two quarters.
One UB player who showed she belonged was guard Dyaisha Fair, the national scoring leader. The freshman guard from Edison Tech in Rochester was high scorer in the game with 24 points. She made 10 of 22 field goal attempts, grabbed six rebounds, had five steals and three assists.
Sophomore Lexie Hull, a former state of Washington Player of the Year, had 21 points for Stanford.
Besides Fair, senior Theresa Onwuka had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls. Freshman forward Loran Christie had 12 points for UB.
Also, UB is still without standout forward and rebounding star Summer Hemphill, who is day to day in her recovery from an injury suffered in a preseason practice.
The UB men will be home for their next game against William & Mary at Alumni Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Coach Felisha Legette-Jack’s women’s team will face Drexel at the Saint Joseph’s tournament on Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia in its next game.
Niagara women seek first win
The Niagara women’s team (0-5), still looking for its first victory, will be home Monday night against Oakland University (2-2) at the Gallagher Center in Lewiston.
The Purple Eagles are coming off an 82-59 loss at Cornell. Freshman Adia Brisker led Niagara with a career-high 15 points.
Senior guard Jai Moore of Niagara needs 21 points to reach 1,000 career points. She had 541 points last season and is averaging 11.4 points this season.