Men’s basketball: UB preview

By Jeff Fasoldt @Jeff_Fasoldt

This Wednesday night matchup of western New York teams has the makings of a good one.

The University at Buffalo Bulls and the St. Bonaventure University Bonnies both come into the game with record of 4-1. The Bonnies dropped one at home to Siena and the Bulls only loss so far was to top-ranked Kentucky at Rupp Arena.

The Bonnies are coming off their best offensive performance against Niagara, and Youssou Ndoye had the game of his life with 23 points (More than he had in his first three games combined), 10 rebounds and five blocks.

Here’s what to look for tomorrow:

The coaches: 

St. Bonaventure: Mark Schmidt. 111-110 as the Bonnies head coach.

Buffalo: Bobby Hurley. 23-11 as the Bulls head coach.

Key players for Buffalo:

Justin Moss– 6-7 junior forward. At 17.6 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game he is the Bulls leading scorer and rebounder. He is a forward that is primarily a threat from the paint as he has not made a three so far this season.

Shannon Evans– 6-1 sophomore guard- Evans is the second leading scorer behind moss and the leading assist man with four per game. He’s not much of a threat from deep (under 30-percent) but is active defensively with a two steals per game and will try and get in the Bonnies guards heads.

Lamonte Bearden– 6-3 freshman guard. This young man is the most dangerous player for the Bulls. Scout.com ranked him as a 4-star recruit and Rivals.com writer Eric Bossi named him one of the top-five steals of the 2014 recruiting class. So far, Bearden has played well with 11.0 points per game and and just under three assists per game.

Key players for St. Bonaventure: 

Youssou Ndoye– 7-0 senior forward. The Bonnies anchor and big man got his offensive game going last week and was content with Niagara playing a man-to-man defense against him and not the 2-3 zone that Ndoye has struggled scoring against. Against Buffalo it could be a different story as they carry some size and will defend Ndoye much better than the Purple Eagles did.

Iakeem Alston– 6-1 junior guard. The rookie transfer for the Bonnies hasn’t seen a lot of playing time so far, but came in and played very well last week as Jay Adams, the Bonnies starting PG, got in foul trouble. Alston has superior ball-handling skills and is averaging 2.3 assists in about 12 minutes per game. He struggled to finish at the rim in his first few games but hit a nice jump shot against Niagara, which will boost his confidence. Look for Schmidt to go to Alston early tomorrow.

Andell Cumberbatch– 6-5 senior guard. Cumberbatch is a another player on the rise for the Bonnies. He’s been playing 33 minutes per game, second only to Dion Wright with 37 and he’s averaging 14 points per game. He’s a true wing player that can rise up and rebound the ball (7.0 per game) and if he can get his stroke going from beyond the arc he could help the Bonnies a lot.

Key to victory for Bonnies:

Ndoye will be heavily guarded by the Buffalo forwards in this one. They are bigger up front and will force other players to make plays. Marcus Posley struggled last game but will have to make shots in this game if the Bonnies want to win against a tough UB squad.

Key to victory for Buffalo: 

Stop Ndoye. He made Niagara look silly in the Bonnies rout this past weekend and perhaps smells blood coming into this game. Don’t be surprised if Hurley turns to a 2-3 zone to try and slow down the Boniness big men after their huge game against Niagara’s weak man-to-man defense.

Score prediction: 70-60 UB Bulls.

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