Bulls Fall At Nationally-Ranked Xavier, 86-53

Photo courtesy of Frank Victores
Photo courtesy of Frank Victores

BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team was unable to keep up with the 10th ranked team in the nation on Monday night as the Bulls lost at Xavier, 86-53.  The loss evened UB's record to 1-1 on the year.

Xavier (2-0) came into tonight's game ranked 10th in the Coaches Poll and 11th in the AP poll and the Musketeers showed why, forcing 21 Buffalo turnovers.  In addition to the turnover problem, the Bulls also struggled from the floor as they shot just 15-of-49 from the floor, including just 5-of-22 from inside the arc. Buffalo also struggled in the fouls department, getting called for 38 on the night, including 23 in the first half alone.

Xavier opened the game on a 10-0 run as the Bulls didn't find the scoring column until a pair of free throws five minutes into the game.  A three-pointer by freshman James Jones pulled the Bulls back within 10-5 early, but the Musketeers took advantage of their time at the free throw line, quickly rebuilding a double-digit lead.  The first 19 Buffalo points all came by either free throws or three pointers as Xavier led 44-25 at the break.

The Bulls scored the first three points of the second half and a three pointer by Willie Conner pulled UB within 15 at 49-34 with 16:15 left when Xavier answered by going on a 23-6 run to take a 72-40 lead.  The Musketeers took their largest lead of the game at 84-50 with 1:25 left before sophomore Nikola Rackicevic answered with a three.  The Musketeers went on to win the game, 86-53.

Sophomore Nick Perkins led the Bulls with 15 points and seven rebounds, including a 3-for-5 performance from behind the arc.  Conner and Blake Hamilton each added eight points, while freshman Davonta Jordan had seven points and a team-high four assists.

Ikenna Smart added five points and four rebounds, while Rackicevic had four points.  Jones and fellow freshman Quate McKinzie each had three points.

The Bulls will return to action on Thursday night for their regular season home opener when Buffalo hosts Nazareth College at Alumni Arena.  Tipoff is set for 7:00 pm.