Hot shooting leads men’s basketball to win in home opener


Dave DeLuca/The Record File Photo

Senior guard Rod Epps scored a game-high 23 points in a win over Medaille.

Andrew Kuczkowski, Reporter

Using a combination of defensive pressure and hot shooting on the offensive end, led by its seniors, Buffalo State men’s basketball started off the season on the right foot, beating Medaille, 102-86, in their home opener this past Saturday.

The Bengals were dominant offensively, particularly from behind the 3-point line. Buffalo State shot 50 percent (10 for 20) from three, led by senior guard Rod Epps, who went 3 of 5 from behind the arc and scored a game-high 23 points.

“I feel good, but we should have done much better,” Epps said. “In the beginning, we were up by 20 and they caught back up and it was because we were lacking on defense.”

Buffalo led by 17 with 7:18 to go in the second half, but Medaille went on a 23-8 run to cut the Bengals’ lead to just two.

“Good, good, a lot of upside [from this game],” said senior forward Chris Thompson, who scored 11 points and blocked four shots. “I feel like we could have had a stronger defensive game. We blew a couple of big leads.”

Buffalo State head coach Fajri Ansari was focusing on a mixture of half-court trap to a 2-3 zone. The strategy worked well against Medaille, forcing 22 turnovers, but not against their senior guard Jammal Coleman. Coleman scored 37 points and 18 of those were from the free throw line.

“Well what we didn’t do was deny him the ball,” Ansari said. “But I know throughout his career, he gets to the foul line. And if we let him get the ball in his hands he will score, he has an ability to score from the three, too. My thing is to make him work.”

Sophomore guard Jordan Glover scored a career-high 19 points off the bench, going 3 of 7 from behind the 3-point line. Junior transfer Kevin Marmolejos chipped in with 12 points. Buffalo State shot at a high level, shooting 58.5 percent from the field and scored 30 points off turnovers, compared to Medaille’s 41.7 percent shooting and 11 points off turnovers.

“Well, I guess we got the win and that’s the main thing,” Ansari said. “We had a good start and I am glad we got this first home game. We didn’t use our advantage of height. We have some talent, but we have to find that chemistry.”

Thompson feels good about how the team is settling in and has high hopes for this season.

“Feeling good with the lineup right now,” Thompson said. “Starting to trust a lot of my teammates, especially some of them who’ve been in situations like this before. Some of the freshmen last season are starting to play great games this year.”

On the court, the Bengals had both high intensity and aggression.

“Whenever we play at home, no matter who we play against, we seem to get up,” Coach Ansari said. “I thought we matched the intensity but we have to learn to do it with composure.”

Buffalo State will participate in the Coles Classic, which will take place Thursday through Saturday at the Sports Arena against Pine Manor and Point Park, respectively.