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Men’s basketball wins first game of the season, 63-61, against Potsdam

The Bengals find the left column on Head Coach Fajri Ansari’s last home game.
Buffalo+vs.+Potsdam%2C+Feb+10+2024.
Kayla Sterner
Buffalo vs. Potsdam, Feb 10 2024.

After ending the last 42 games on the wrong side, the Bengals (1-22, 1-15 SUNYAC) fought hard for their first win of the season against Potsdam (3-20, 2-14 SUNYAC)!

The 63-61 victory manifested on head coach Fajri Ansari’s last-ever home game as he heads into retirement after this season.

“It’s real special, especially seeing decades of former players up there [in the bleachers],” said Coach Ansari. “I’m glad we rose to the occasion, and it was a team effort.”

The Bengals looked the best they have all season by a landslide. Buckets were drained and communication kept the group strong throughout the game’s entirety as Buffalo State snapped a 42-game skid.

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It was a tight game from tip-off to the final buzzer as there were nine lead changes and four ties.

Matt Parkinson led all scorers with 16 points while Nigel Burch was right behind him with 14 points, six rebounds and three assists. Bryce Williams and Remi Skvorc added nine points and eight points off the bench, respectively.

Parkinson and Burch started off the match with triples before they each added layups to go ahead 10-4. The Bears responded with a 6-2 run to lead 11-10 before the Bengals jumped out to an 8-1 run capped by a jumper from Parkinson to snag an 18-12 lead with 11:36 left in the half.

Potsdam scored seven uninterrupted points to lead 19-18 before a chaotic sequence that led to the ball rolling around the floor until Burch gained possession and gave the ball to Skvorc, who eventually drained a three to lead 21-19.

Burch soared through the air for a dunk to lead 24-23 and then 29-26 after Parkinson netted a three and a jumper. Burch scored four points to close out the quarter and lead 33-26 at half time.

Brendyn Cheng opened up the second half with an offensive rebound and a layup before Maley McCurty netted his own layup to break the tie (35-35) and lead by two. The Bears tied the game at 37-apiece but a spine-around layup from Parkinson gave the Bengals a 39-37 advantage with 14:43 to play.

Burch snagged a steal and dished it to Williams for an and-one to lead 44-37 with 13:24 left in the half. McCurtey’s steal sparked a 7-0 run that ended with a tray from Skvorc and a 13-point advantage.

Cheng turned the ball over and the Bears scored, but the Bengals still had the advantage. A pretty sequence unfolded as Cheng, who looked like he was going for a jumper, dished the ball to McCurty for a layup to lead by seven.

The Bears responded with a 9-3 run to cut the deficit to one with 2:22 to play, but McCurty grabbed an offensive rebound and managed to tap the ball into the hoop to lead by three, then by five (63-58) after Burch netted a bucket in the paint.

Potsdam scored three from the charity stripe to make the score 63-61 but the Bears missed their attempt at a buzzer-beater and the Bengals prevailed victorious for the first time this season.

Buffalo State scored 30 points in the paint and 18 points off of 17 turnovers. The team added 18 bench points, 16 fastbreak points and six second-chance points.

The Bengals made 41% of their shots from the field, 30.4% of their threes and a low 46.2% of their free throws.

Buffalo State is on the road for their final two games of the season. They will face SUNY Cortland at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 16 and SUNY Oswego State at 4 p.m. the following day.

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Kayla Sterner
Kayla Sterner, Staff Writer

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