Tonawanda News

Sports

January 22, 2014

UB starting to find a winning identity

Tonawanda News — AMHERST — Before a pivotal early-season Mid-American Conference showdown with rival Kent State Saturday night, University at Buffalo men’s basketball head coach Bobby Hurley was concerned about his team’s “psyche.”

“Coming off the loss and the way we lost at Toledo (on Wednesday), I was concerned (about our) confidence and the emotional drain a game like that takes out of you,” said Hurley, referring to UB’s two-point loss to the Rockets on a buzzer beater as time expired three days prior.

The Bulls, a team packed with veteran leadership, didn’t seem fazed against the Golden Flashes, overcoming a sluggish first half en route to a dominant 71-60 win over Kent State. That’s UB’s fifth win in their last six meetings against Kent State at Alumni Arena. The Bulls remain perfect at home on the season at 8-0.

I had two questions going into this season as pertains to the Bulls under Hurley: what kind of identity would a team traditionally known for rebounding and defense take on, and will there be an adjustment period for players and a brand new coaching staff to get to know each other.

UB’s leading scorer and rebounder Javon McCrea said the Bulls are still trying to figure out what kind of team they are going to be.

“We can play so many styles of basketball, we’re so versatile,” McCrea said. “We just want to get up into people and defend them and get out into transition as well.”

As far as my second question, if there was an adjustment period, it’s over. 

The Bulls are starting to function as a well-oiled machine, winning five of their last six, including a 3-1 start in conference play. They have a little bit of everything: shooting, rebounding, speed and, maybe most important, defense. 

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