Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

UB men's basketball to play games at Kentucky, Wisconsin

Alumni Arena
UB's nonconference schedule includes a Big 4 home game against Niagara in Alumni Arena. (Harry Scull Jr./News file photo)

By Taylor Nigrelli

The University at Buffalo’s men’s basketball nonconference schedule will include two games against teams who were in the Final Four last year as well as a marquee Big 4 matchup downtown, the school announced today.

The Bulls will take on 2013-14’s national runner-up, Kentucky, on Nov. 16 as part of the Cawood Ledford Classic, a 10-day, multiple-team event.

UB will also travel to take on the Wisconsin Badgers, who lost to Kentucky in a Final Four matchup in April, on Dec. 28.

According to second-year coach Bobby Hurley, the program was looking for a more challenging non-conference slate after winning its first-ever outright Mid-American Conference East Division title in 2013-14.

"We wanted to challenge ourselves in the non-conference season and we certainly accomplished that," Hurley said in a statement. "These are the types of games that the guys we are recruiting expect to play each year as we move forward.”

For the second year in a row, the First Niagara Center will play host to UB and Canisius as the two will face off Nov. 29.

The Bulls will also take on Big Four rivals St. Bonaventure and Niagara University Dec. 3 and Dec. 19, respectively. UB will host the Purple Eagles and travel to take on the Bonnies.

UB will open the season Nov. 14 with a women’s and men’s doubleheader against South Dakota State as a make up for last year’s weather-related postponement.

The Cawood Ledford Classic includes road games for the Bulls against Texas-Arlington (Nov. 18) and Grand Canyon (Nov. 25) as well as a home game against Montana State (Nov. 21).

Other non-conference opponents include: Robert Morris (Dec. 7), Drexel (Dec. 16), Binghamton (Dec. 30) and Cornell (Jan. 3).

The Bulls will also host an exhibition against Wheeling Jesuit Nov. 6. The Mid-American Conference schedule is set to be released later this summer. Season tickets for Alumni Arena will go on sale July 21.

Here is a look at the Bulls' 2014-15 nonconference slate:

Continue reading "UB men's basketball to play games at Kentucky, Wisconsin" »

Mason Making Leap to Auburn

By Bob DiCesare

Antoine Mason's announcement that he'll play his final season at Auburn is being portrayed nationally as a quality catch for new Tigers coach Bruce Pearl. Whether that proves true depends on if Mason, a 6-foot-3 guard with one season of eligibility remaining, makes a seamless transition from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, ranked No. 16 in the RPIs last season, to the SEC, ranked No. 7.

Mason averaged 25.6 points for Niagara last season, and that makes him the top returning scorer in the country. He pretty much had free reign as the Purple Eagles went young after coach Joe Miahlich left for Hofstra and three significant players transferred out. New coach Chris Casey gave him mega-minutes and rode the horse -- for better or worse. There weren't many other options at the offensive end.

Will Auburn grant Mason the same kind of freedom? And will his physical approach to offense remain effective against taller, stronger guards in the SEC?

Mason has always craved a challenge, whether it was coming back from the injury that ended his true freshman season or trying to carry his young teammates in the post-Mihalich upheaval. But despite his warrior-like attitude and his undeniable grittiness it's interesting that coaches left him off the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conferene first team after last season, going with five players instead of six even though Mason had been part of a six-man first team the season before.

Was that a commentary on his style? Does the demotion mean the coaches perceived his approach at exceedingly me-first? Maybe so. But there's no denying his offensive gifts.

That aside, Mason's departure was the best thing for Niagara moving forward. Casey can now build a program without deferring to one player. He can develop balance within the offense, something that wasn't going to happen so long as Mason was in uniform. This is a transfer situation that should prove best for all involved.

Two transfer from St. Bonaventure

By Rodney McKissic

Add two more names to the ever expanding transfer list: St. Bonaventure's Matthias Runs and Jean Yves Toupane who the school announced will not return to the program.

These aren’t huge losses. Runs, a 7-foot sophomore center from Hilversum, Netherlands, played in just two games while Toupane, a 6-foot-7 forward from Dakar, Senegal, played in six and scored four points.

The only other Big 4 player who has elected to transfer thus far is Niagara's Tajere McCall.

Bonnies look to extend Schmidt's contract

By Rodney McKissic

Now that Mark Schmidt has moved on from Boston College, St. Bonaventure is looking to extend his contract.

Schmidt’s current deal runs through the 2018-19 season and the Bonnies hope to extend the coach another two years, according to a source.

“We are thrilled that Mark has decided to continue as the head coach of our men’s basketball program," St. Bonaventure AD Steve Watson said in a statement released by the school. “He has done a remarkable job of building the program. We hope Mark will be our coach for a long time, and to that end, we have started discussions about an extension of our commitment to him.”

ESPN reported Tuesday morning that Schmidt was no longer an option at Boston College. A source confirmed that Schmidt spoke with former South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler, whose search firm is working on behalf of Boston College. According to the source, Boston College athletics director Brad Bates did not ask St. Bonaventure athletics director Steve Watson permission to speak with Schmidt, a common practice among ADs, although Bates was not obligated to do so.

Fogler spoke directly to Schmidt, who kept Watson apprised of the proceedings, the source said. Neither Schmidt nor Watson were available for comment.

Schmidt has a 106-109 record at St. Bonaventure and in 2012 he led the Bonnies to their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2000. Schmidt played at Boston College from 1981-85.

“It is an honor to be the head coach at St. Bonaventure,” Schmidt said in a statement released by the school. “This is a fantastic University with passionate fans in a community my family and I are proud to call home.”

Report: Schmidt no longer an option at Boston College

By Rodney McKissic

St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt is no longer an option at Boston College, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. Goodman is also reporting that Syracuse University assistant Mike Hopkins is no longer under consideration as well.

Schmidt reportedly interviewed at Boston College last week; nevertheless according to Mark Blaudschun of www.ajerseyguy.com, Schmidt spoke with Eddie Fogler, whose search firm is working on behalf of the school last week. Schmidt played at BC from 1981-85.

Hopkins interviewed on campus on Saturday and on Monday Ohio University coach Jim Christian emerged as a viable candidate which stands to reason because he’s one of Fogler’s clients. Christian’s head coaching stops include Kent State and TCU.  It is unknown if Christian has scheduled an interview.

Schmidt, who was unavailable for comment, recently completed his seventh season at St. Bonaventure where he has a 106-109 record. In 2012, Schmidt led the Bonnies to their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2000.

Duke Lost??

By Bob DiCesare

Sometimes the participants are the last to know.

UConn seniors Shabazz Napier and Niels Giffey were fielding questions from the riser Friday afternoon when they were asked to comment on the uncertain nature of the NCAA Tournament, what with Louisville barely escaping and Duke getting beat. It went like this:

Giffey: Duke lost?
Napier Duke lost?
Moderator Paul Vecchio: Duke lost, yeah, to Mercer.
Napier: Oh, wow!
Vecchio: I like your focus. You haven't been paying attention.
Giffey: No, I haven't.
Napier: Wow! That's just how the tournament is. Just on any given day, Duke can lose. Louisville could have lost. Who did they play? Mercer?
Vecchio: Mercer.
Napier: That's a good team.

Ennis reunites with CIA Bounce alum Pierre

By Rodney McKissic

It will be a reunion of sorts for Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis and Dayton sophomore forward Dyshawn Pierre, who were teammates with the Canadian-based AAU program CIA Bounce.

Both are coming off strong performances in their second round matchups on Thursday. In his first NCAA Tournament game, Ennis helped the Orange easily dispatch Western Michigan, 77-53, with 16 points and six assists.

In the Flyers 60-59 upset over Ohio State, Dayton trailed 57-55 when Pierre was fouled on a three-point attempt with 26 seconds left and calmly canned all three free throws. That proved to be the difference after each team exchanged baskets, including Vee Stanford’s winner.

“Dyshawn is one of those players where you have to watch him a couple of games to really appreciate how good he is,” Ennis said. “I’ve watched him go up against nearly everybody in that class and really go at them. He’s really an underrated player and one of their keys.”

Ennis played one summer with Pierre on Bounce, the program run by Tony McIntyre, Ennis’ father. He starred at Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute in Whitby, Ont., where he registered over 3,500 points and nearly 1,800 rebounds.

“At first you look at him and his game is a little awkward but as you keep watching him you can see his mid-range game and finishing around the basket,” Ennis said. “Offensively, he has the full package but he does a great job.”

Ennis spoke with Pierre briefly today about Bounce alums still the NCAAs and making noise throughout college basketball. That includes Ennis’ brother, Dylan, from Villanova, Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Iowa State’s and Melvin Ejim and Naz Long.

“It will be a great day for Canada basketball to have two players on this level contributing and going at each other,” Ennis said. “It’s a big step for us to have this many players and having so many contributors not only playing on these teams but contributing throughout the country.”

Syracuse faced different styles in the ACC

By Rodney McKissic

Before Syracuse entered the ACC, the Orange heard they would have to change its style because their new league was more finesse than physical. Not true according to C.J. Fair.

“I think the physicality of the ACC was underestimated or underrated I should say,” Fair said. “You got some teams that have similar styles like Virginia has a similar style to Pittsburgh. You play against Duke, they’re more up and down. It’s just you get a taste of everything in the ACC, not just one style.”

Bayr Moussa Keita agrees.

“Everybody told us it’s a run and gun type of play, but we play different teams, and they have a different style of play. You play Boston College and they’re going to make you hold the ball and work the defense. If you play Duke, they’re going to go up and down. So I think I underestimated it.”

Football with Doug Marrone laced Greg Paulus' coaching career

By Tim Graham

Mike Krzyzewski was an obvious influence on Greg Paulus' basketball coaching career.

Thad Matta, too, of course.

So has Jim Boeheim.

But don't forget Doug Marrone.

That's right. Paulus credits the Buffalo Bills coach for making a difference.

Paulus essentially was immersed in Boeheim's program while growing up in Syracuse. Paulus played point guard for Krzyzewski at Duke.

Now Paulus is an assistant to Matta at Ohio State.

But in between Duke and Ohio State, the two-sport Christian Brothers Academy star decided to give football another whirl. He enrolled at Syracuse in 2009 as a graduate student and won the starting quarterback job in Marrone's first season as head coach.

"I learned a lot about myself, a lot about changing the culture of a program," Paulus said today at the First Niagara Center, where Ohio State will play Dayton on Thursday in the NCAA basketball tournament.

"We've seen where Syracuse was before Coach Marrone and where it is now. It's come a long way, and I'm proud to have had that opportunity.

"Moving forward, I lean on those experiences even though they're different sports. I know what I got out of that, a great deal."

Paulus turned down scholarships to play football at Notre Dame and Miami (Fla.), choosing instead to concentrate solely on basketball. At Duke, he became only the fourth freshman to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in assists.

He graduated from Duke in four years, leaving him one year of athletic eligibility if he wanted it. With no guarantees, he reported to his hometown program, which had been in shambles and had just hired a first-time head coach.

"It happened very quickly," Paulus said. "I ended up graduating from Duke in May, and the football season starts in August.

"I'm not someone who pays attention to the odds. All I wanted was an opportunity. I knew it was for one year, so all I wanted was a chance to compete for a starting position.

"I made the transition to try to learn the playbook, meet the guys on the team and try to help out the Syracuse program in whatever way possible. It was a quick turnaround to learn everything, but I had a lot of fun with it."

Paulus beat out incumbent Cameron Dantley and redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib for the job. Marrone wanted to establish a new culture, and a winner from a program such as Duke basketball was a gift. Paulus was named a captain.

Paulus' football stat line was mediocre. He completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 2,024 yards and 13 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. The New Orleans Saints invited Paulus to minicamp in 2010 before he focused on basketball coaching full-time.

"I would do it again in a heartbeat," Paulus said. "The opportunity to play football for a year, get my masters from the Newhouse School of Public Communications and have a chance to play for Doug Marrone is something that I'll never forget."

And when the Bills went into opening day with a total of one NFL start among their three quarterbacks, including Duke pal Thad Lewis, did Paulus have any fanciful thoughts?

"No desire," Paulus said with a laugh. "Just to see Coach Marrone do it at the highest level, I was real proud to have played for him."

If the higher seeds win Thursday, then Paulus will face Syracuse for the second time in his coaching career. Ohio State defeated Syracuse to reach the 2012 Final Four.

Canisius to CIT

By Bob DiCesare

Canisius has accepted a bid to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and will host a first-round game at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Koessler Athletic Center against an opponent to be determined.

It's the second straight postseason appearance for the Griffs (21-12), who last Sunday fell to Iona in the semifinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament.

Canisius played in the CIT last season, defeating Elon and Youngstown State before a third-round loss to Evansville.

The invitation extends the careers of Canisius seniors Billy Baron, Chris Manhertz, Chris Perez and Jordan Heath. Baron averages 24.2 points and needs eight points for reach 1,700 for his collegiate career.

« Older Entries
Advertisement

About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare | bdicesare@buffnews.com


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | amoritz@buffnews.com

Subscribe

Advertisement