Men’s basketball drops season opener against Point Park, 89-87


Dave DeLuca/The Record file photo

Junior Jordan Glover had 14 points and five assists against Point Park.

Andrew Kuczkowski, Staff Writer

After a strong first half, the Buffalo State men’s basketball team stumbled and lost their home opener and their top offensive threat against Point Park this past Saturday.

The game went down to the wire. Buffalo State trailed 89 to 87 with 21 seconds on the clock and had possession. This is when Buffalo State head coach Fajri Ansari took a timeout to regroup his team.

“In the huddle, Coach talked about dribble, drive and kick,” junior guard Jordan Glover said.

The ball ended up in Glover’s hands with about 10 seconds left. He shot a three-pointer. He missed.

“I just… it’s my fault. Miscommunication on my part. Not knowing the time on the clock; I thought we had less time than what we did,” he said.

The Bengals limited Point Park to only 35 points in the first half while putting up 46 of their own, but ultimately fell apart as they gave up 56 in the second half.

“They got good shooters,” Ansari said. “They have four games under their belt, so we knew they would be a little more in rhythm. We couldn’t get out and run as much losing Lovell to injury.”

Junior forward Lovell Smith lead the Bengals in the first half with 17 points and added two points in the second half before injuring his hamstring. After the game, Smith said he should be fine and he wanted to go back into the game, but the trainer made the decision to keep him on the sideline in order to keep Smith from worsening the injury.

Buffalo State’s defense was dominant in the first half. They limited the Pioneers to only three made three-pointers out of their 17 attempts, but became whimsical in the second half.

The Bengals allowed more open opportunities off of skip passes over their compact zone defense which let up eight three-pointers out of 15 attempts in the second half.

“We just got to come out stronger in the second half,” junior center Jordan Chateau said. “We were a little sluggish coming out. Next time, we just got to pick it up.”

Offensively, the Bengals shot a mere 31 of 86 from the field and had a higher shooting percentage from the 3-point line.

Ansari believes the game was theirs to lose and free throws were significant in the loss. The Bengals went 15 of 24 from the free throw line.

“We missed free throws,” Ansari said. “If we made our free throws, we could’ve pulled this game out… It’s disappointing that we should’ve won. All we had to do was make free throws and a couple of layups and we had the game.”

This Buffalo State squad is very different than last year’s; only five players returned. Both Glover and Smith were starters last year.

“We’ve got to get continuity,” Ansari said. “We’ve got to get it because we have so many new guys on the team.”

One addition to the team is freshman guard Domenic Grayer, whose sole purpose this game was to stretch their defense. He knocked down six of his 10 three-point shots and had a team-high 20 points off the bench.

“Domenic came off the bench and was hot from the jump,” Glover said. “That was a tremendous help. That’s what he does and that’s what we got him for.”

Buffalo State came back from a 10-point deficit with 3:34 left in the second half. The game was seemingly over, but they fought back.

“The one thing that I liked that we did, even though we lost, is that we battled,” Glover said. “We were down, I think, seven with maybe 2:38 left [on the clock] and in the huddle, we kept saying, ‘fight, fight. It’s not over.’”

The Bengals hope to get their first win at the Cole’s Classic tournament at Buffalo State. The Sports Arena will host Bluffton University of Ohio, Nazareth College of Rochester and Villa Maria. Buffalo State will face Villa Maria on Friday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m., while Bluffton and Nazareth will face each other at 6 p.m.

The winners of both the games will play Saturday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m., and the consolation game will be at 4 p.m.

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