And this tweet....
.@nate_oats on the current status of Lamonte Bearden: "Lamonte is day-to-day; hoping to see him Saturday."— Quentin Haynes (@HaynesTheWriter) February 18, 2016
Buffalo is 8-4 at home this year and has lost their last 2 home games. BG has lost 4 straight in Buffalo.
Now, these stats included all games (Bearden and non-Bearden), but Buffalo is primarily succeeding on defense. They are 8th in the MAC in offensive efficiency and 4th in defensive efficiency. Note when looking at raw stats for Buffalo...they play at the fastest pace in the MAC, so that is going to jack up some numbers.
The spread between BG's offense and defense continues to grow. BG is now 11th in the MAC in offensive efficiency, and with the stout Buffalo defense, the Falcons are going to have to find a way to consistently score to have a shot. The good news is that a quicker pace is something we seem more comfortable with, if we are getting stops.
Most of Buffalo's numbers are pretty good. They are 6th in shooting and 2nd on the offensive boards and in getting to the line. They are last, however, in turnovers, and that has created the issues they have on offense. That was an issue before Bearden left and if anything has been a little better while he has been out. They struggle with the long shot...they are 5th in the MAC in taking them but 11th in converting. They are 3rd in 2FG% and 7th in FT shooting for all those times they get to the line.
Defensively, they are just solid across the board. They are 2nd in the MAC in defending the shot and 5th in creating turnovers, preventing offensive rebounds and keeping their opponents off the line. They are 2nd in the MAC in defending the 3FG and 7th against the 2FG. Just a very solid team which is only great in one area but bad in no areas.
So, Bearden was their leader, scoring 14 PPG on 49% on 4 assists per game. That's really good shooting...he's not much of a 3FG so this is getting to the basket type stuff. Their 2nd leading scorer is Blake Hamilton, a 6'6" swing guy who transferred to Buffalo from JUCO. He's scoring 12.8 PPG on 43%/38% shooting and also leads the team with 7 rebounds. He might be the best player in the MAC that you never heard of until right now.
Next is Willie Conner, another JUCO guy. He's also big at 6'5" and scores 12.2 PPG and shoots 48%.
The Bulls normally have a couple big guys, but this year they play a relatively small lineup. Raheem Johnson was playing that role but is out for the season with an injury.
Last couple things. Of course, last year the Bulls won the MAC under Bobby Hurley, who then left to go to Arizona State. He was replaced by Nate Oats, his lead assistant. He's actually from Detroit, coach Romulus HS and got the Buffalo job after only two years as a collegiate assistant. They were expecting to have MAC POY Justin Moss back (he is from, cough cough, Romulus, Michigan) but he was dismissed from the team for stealing from the dorm room of another student.