Men’s Basketball falls to .500; loses to St. John Fisher, 89-83

Bryan Pearson-Reese, Reporter

Coming off a 10-day break, the SUNY Buffalo State Men’s Basketball team went into Tuesday night with a 2-1 record. All five of the Bengals’ starters ended the game in double figures. However, that was not enough as the Bengals fell short against the St. John Cardinals, 89-83, in the Sports Arena.

“I know they got a couple of guys that can come off the bench, that could start for them. Our guys coming off the bench are not as experienced as their guys, we played about four freshmen today,” Bengals head coach Fajri Ansari said. “Experience helps.”

The first half was very close as the two teams found themselves going back-and-forth as the game was tied on four separate occasions. Junior guard Jordan Christopher converted a layup, tying the game at 11 with 16:00 left in the first half. This sparked the Bengals to go on a 7-0 run which was led by senior forward Kay Grant’s two-point layup and ended with a key three-point bomb by junior guard Sheldon Adams.

At that moment, Buffalo State held an 18-11 lead and forced the Cardinals to make some adjustments.

The Cardinals went on their own 8-0 run with 13:21 left in the first half, and took the lead 19-18. Both teams traded baskets and the Cardinals found themselves with a slim 38-36 lead at the half.

With the game going back and forth in the second half, and both teams hashing it out on the court, Christopher found himself fouling out for the second time in four games. Christopher ended the game with 11 points and five rebounds. The rest of the game was a matter of defensive adjustment and foul calls between the two teams.

St. John Fisher’s bench outscored the Bengals’ bench 9-2 at the half, but found themselves scorching in the second half as they finished with 29 points to Buffalo State’s four.

“We beat Fredonia that wipes it all out, and we’re 1-0 in the league going into the break, and that’s the biggest game to be honest,” Ansari said about falling to .500.

Senior forward Kay Grant erupted for 23 points and 14 rebounds. He had a dominating performance inside the paint, where he kept drawing contact, shooting 5 of 9 free throws.

“More than anything defense,” Grant said. “Defense, defense, defense. I could care less about offense.”

Grant went 5-for-9 from the free throw line.

“We let a lot of backdoors go, a lot of easy shots,” Adams said. “We can’t let that go next game, especially because we are coming up on conference play.”

Zion Guzman-Milton, who blew past his season averages and ended the game with a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) and two blocks, one of which was a monster chase down block in the first half.

The Bengals host the Fredonia Blue Devils next Saturday in their SUNYAC opener. Tip off is at 4 p.m.