History was made at the Koessler Athletic Center on Saturday evening
No. 21 Buffalo became the first ranked opponent to take on the Golden Griffins at their long-time home on Main Street.
Tipping off in front of a sold-out crowd, Canisius jumped out to an early 23-13 lead.
UB head coach Nate Oats wasn’t pleased about his team’s start.
“I thought our defensive intensity was lacking there in the first half. We weren’t quite good enough,” said Oats.
The Bulls quickly turned things around, responding with a 24-3 run to take a 37-26 lead late in the first half. They controlled the tempo from that point on, securing their 12th victory of the season in an 87-72 win.
Oats referred to the game as Canisius’ “Super Bowl.”
“Literally, this is their Super Bowl. They would obviously rather make the NCAA Tournament than beat us but they’d rather have this win than any other game on their schedule all year,” said Oats.
Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon didn’t appear to appreciate those remarks, refusing to go into detail regarding his past which included 14 seasons coaching at Buffalo.
“It’s a non-conference game. You have to ask him (Oats) about his comments,” said Witherspoon, “I only coach one team at a time and so that’s the team I comment on.”
CJ Massinburg led all scorers with 22 points. His “Big 3” counterparts had strong showings as well.
Both Nick Perkins and Jeremy Harris fell just short of posting double-doubles. Perkins moved into 7th place on UB’s all-time scoring list, finishing with 18 points and nine rebounds while Harris posted 17 points and nine rebounds.
Takal Molson led the Griffs with 15 points, extending his streak of consecutive games scoring in double-figures to 15. Isaiah Reese finished with 13 points and eight rebounds after scoring 11 points in the first half.
Molson and Reese combined to shoot 9-28 from the field and 2-15 from behind the arc. The Griffs shot 36% as a team.
With their victory, Buffalo closes non-conference play with a 12-1 record. The Bulls begin MAC play next Friday at Eastern Michigan.
Canisius drops to 3-8. The Griffs open the MAAC portion of their schedule next Thursday at Marist.
Video of Dontay Caruther’s slam against Canisius courtesy of @UBmenshoops on Twitter