I work part-time for the UB athletic department. I work there because I care deeply about the program– not vice versa. I root hard for their teams to succeed and when they come up short, I don’t enjoy it. I steered clear of Twitter/Facebook during tonight’s game because, frankly, I don’t need to get mad at other people (YOU PEOPLE!) while I’m busy getting mad at the game itself. (I tend to lay off during Bills and Sabres games, too.)
After a self-imposed 60 minute postgame social media blackout, I joined the Twitter fray briefly before deciding I needed to get some thoughts out in bullet point form here at TB… and then go to bed.
- Even as things were looking pretty bleak, I felt alright as this game was playing out almost identically to UB’s 10-point win over Eastern Michigan at Alumni Arena back in January. In that meeting, the Eagles’ zone D (surprise– head coach Rob Murphy is a former Syracuse assistant) clogged the paint and held Javon McCrea scoreless in the first half. He broke through a bit in the second half and wound up with a double-double, but UB relied on other sources of offense.
- One of the aforementioned sources in the January matchup, Jarryn Skeete (19 points that night) was unavailable tonight after suffering a shoulder/head/something injury early in the second half. Not cool.
- The Bulls depth in the backcourt was a strength all season. Take Skeete and freshman Shannon Evans (5 assists in that January game– fouled out tonight with no points or assists) out of the equation down the stretch and they’re a different team.
- Evans is going to be an all-time favorite Bull when his career is through. He was a worthy Freshman of the Year and Sixth Man of the Year candidate, despite earning neither award. He’s ridiculously fun to watch and I expect big things.
- The technical foul called on Javon McCrea for hanging on the rim was 100% pure bull****. “Player safety!” I screamed at the TV in my parents’ living room. “Player safety!” screamed Bobby Hurley at the official. We were both right.
- I was in my parents’ living room because I have DirecTV (no game) and they have Time Warner Cable (game!). I suppose I could’ve worked some magic at home with ESPN3 and Chromecast but come on. I wanted to watch the game on TV, not pray to the gods of wireless connectivity. ESPN3 is not a channel.
- When I proposed the idea to my dad of visiting his house to watch the game, he replied with “Great! I was planning to watch the Sabres. What an upgrade.”
- I would’ve liked to see Will Regan take that final rebound to the hole down by three with mere seconds remaining. Odds are, in the moment, one of the post players is going to try to defend the drive, creating an opportunity for an old-fashioned three-point play– and a tie game.
- I didn’t like seeing Auraum Nuiriankh stapled to the bench in his final game as a Bull. Really good defender, great rebounder, consummate team player. Underrated. He deserved better.
- I’m really disappointed in the outcome of the game but not nearly as disappointed as I was when the Bulls lost to Ohio in the semis two years ago. The Bobcats went on to the Sweet 16 and I still think the Mitchell Watt-led Bulls were the best team in the conference. This time I thought they might be the best. I guess not.
- I’m a big fan of former Bulls coach Reggie Witherspoon and if the rumors of him being a top candidate for the head coaching position at Bowling Green are true… well, won’t that make for some interesting conversation next season?
- When Reggie was fired, my main thought was that Danny White had better go big and get it right. He did.
- I liked Reggie WItherspoon. I like Bobby Hurley. It’s OK to like both. You can do it, too.
- The players that Bobby Hurley had this season were mostly the product of Reggie’s recruiting. The lone player who can’t be tied to Witherspoon? Josh Freelove.
- JOSH. FREELOVE. 26 points. Five first-half threes.
- As the going got tough, Josh got scoring. Down the stretch, Freelove was a monster– he topped 20 points three times this season, all in the final seven games. Plus, I think he looks like a skinny, young Dave Chappelle Thanks for being a Bull, Josh.