Buffalo (4-3) vs. Manhattan (8-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 21, 3 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Barclays Center (18,103) -- Brooklyn, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Buffalo 4-1, Manhattan 1-2. Away Record: Buffalo 0-2, Manhattan 7-0. Neutral Record: Buffalo 0-0, Manhattan 0-0. Conference Record: Buffalo 0-0, Manhattan 2-0. Series Record: Buffalo leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: A couple squads from the Empire State get together in Brooklyn this afternoon, as the Manhattan Jaspers battle the Buffalo Bulls in non- conference action at the Barclays Center.
Manhattan is a bit of a puzzling squad to this point, winning just one of three home games at Draddy Gym yet streaking out to a perfect 7-0 mark on the road. On Tuesday night, the team dismissed the South Carolina Gamecocks by a score of 86-68 on the road, marking its fifth straight victory overall.
As for the Bulls, they began the 2013-14 campaign with back-to-back defeats against Texas A&M and Niagara, but then turned it around with four straight wins. However, the team's most recent outing against Canisius back on Dec. 11 resulted in a 69-55 setback at home.
Buffalo leads the all-time series by a 2-1 margin, thanks to a narrow 65-64 victory in the most recent meeting back in February.
By going up against the Jaspers today, Buffalo will be taking on a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for the third time in the first eight games of the season.
Buffalo led by nine points at the break against Canisius the last time out, but in the second half the Bulls completely fell apart as they surrendered the 14-point decision to the Golden Griffins. Scoring in double figures for Buffalo were Javon McCrea with 13 points, Joshua Freelove with 11 and Will Regan with 10 points in the lackluster effort. The Bulls shot only 6-of-23 behind the 3-point line and were outscored at the charity stripe by a 13-3 margin.
A 58.2 percent shooter from the floor through the first seven games of the season, McCrea leads the team in scoring with 16.3 ppg and is also first in terms of rebounding (8.9 rpg) and blocked shots (17). However, as strong as those numbers might be, McCrea is still having trouble handling the ball, suffering 20 turnovers against just six assists. Freelove checks in with 12.0 ppg, thanks in part to 12 3-point baskets, but still he has made just 34.3 percent of his perimeter chances, the Bulls a collective 29.5 percent on the outside.
George Beamon erupted for a game-high 26 points, as Manhattan took out the South Carolina Gamecocks in a non-conference showdown at Colonial Life Arena. Beamon finished the night shooting not only 3-of-4 behind the 3-point line, but also a perfect 7-of-7 at the free-throw line. Michael Alvarado accounted for 20 points and six assists, shooting a near-perfect 10-of-11 at the charity stripe. The win for the Jaspers was their first over an SEC foe since taking out Florida in the 2004 NCAA Tournament.
Leading the team in scoring for the first five games of the season and seven times overall, Beamon continues to be a consistent point producer for the Jaspers now that he is averaging 21.2 ppg. Granted, he is shooting just 41.0 percent from the floor, partly due to his 32.7 percent accuracy behind the 3- point line, but opponents keep sending him to the free-throw line an average of nine times per outing, and he has knocked down a stellar 91.1 percent of those chances.
With Beamon lighting up the scoreboard the Jaspers are always in contention, and seeing as how the Bulls lost to their previous two opponents from the MAAC, it only figures that trend would continue this afternoon.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Manhattan 81, Buffalo 69
12/21 10:32:13 ET