Nazareth travels to Buffalo and defeats Buffalo State 97-89.
Final score not indicative of how close this game was with under 3 minutes to go. Down 87-80 the Bengals got a triple and a layup to cut the lead to 2 with 3:26 to play. Teams traded jump shots and with 2:25 to go Flyers Tyshun Stephens buries a 3 ball to make it a 5 pt lead at 92-87. Epps hits a jumper to make it 92-89, and after Naz misfired on their next possession, the Bengals did the same on a tying 3 point attempt with 1:29 left. Bengals get the rebound, however, but turn the ball over, their 3rd TO in the past several minutes and commit a foul on Stephens who makes them both to increase the lead to 5. Bengals then have their turn at the stripe but miss both attempts and that was pretty much the ballgame. Naz hit 3 more free throws to stretch the 5 point lead to the final margin. Bengals were held scoreless in the final 2:02 of the game where they missed four 3 pointers, 2 free throws committed 4 fouls and had a turnover. Certainly not the way the Bengals are used to finishing a game
Brad Ford led Nazareth with 25 points and 16 rebounds. Five other players were in double figures. Brad's younger brother, only a freshman, Mitch, had 19 points and 12 rebounds. The Ford brothers total of 28 boards was almost as much as the entire Bengal team as they finished with 31. Nazareth had a total of 51 with 17 of them coming on the offensive end of the floor. Hard to win a game when you get beat that badly off the glass. Tyshun Stephens finished with 13 pts, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. His 3 pointer with 2:25 to play and the Golden Flyers nursing a slim 89-87 lead was probably the biggest basket of the game. The Bengals had cut a 7 point lead down to 2 and if the Flyers had come up empty in that possession it might have been a different outcome. Jack Giles came off the bench to score 12 points, while starters Maurice Mills and Scott Hayford both added 10 points.
Bengals were led by Roderick Epps with 33 points and Jake Simmons with 22. No other Bengal had double digits. I think the Bengals playing only their 2nd game of the season, compared to Nazareth's 4th game, probably had something to do with the outcome. Bengals lost 4 starters from last year's team and are still trying to figure out the right combinations to put on the floor, especially at crunch time. I would expect these teams will see considerable improvement as the season progresses. I believe both clubs will defintely be in the hunt for the top spot in their respective leagues and will certainly make their conference playoffs.
Nazareth will next play on Wednseday, Nov. 28th in the first round of the Wendy's Classic against a team to be announced. The pairing for the Wendy's Classic will be announced later today.
Buffalo State will next host Medaille on Tuesday Nov. 28th.