BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The 2019 version of the Big 4 rivalry between UB and Canisius played out like the last few match ups between the two teams: a close back and forth game from the get-go.
Canisius came back from a 15 point deficit to give UB quite the scare late in the game, but the Bulls scored 10 points and held the Griffs to just 5 in the final four minutes of the game to come away with the 82-73 victory over their Big 4 rival, UB’s third straight win in the series.
“These games are always that way, since the five years I’ve been here, I think every one of these games, two have been overtime, one of them went down to the last possession, but every one of them has been a tough tight game,” UB head coach Jim Whitesell said. “I wasn’t anticipating anything other than that. Happy with the win, but now it’s time to get ready for Niagara on Saturday.”
UB senior Davonta Jordan finished the night with a career high 26 points. Ronaldo Segu, Jeenathan Williams, and Josh Mballa all put up double digits as well.
On the other side of the ball, Scott Hitchon scored 29 points on the night for the Griffs. Majesty Brandon scored 14, and Malik Johnson scored 11 for Canisius.
It was a game the Bulls felt they really needed to win, after dropping Saturday’s home game against Army on Saturday, marking the second loss at Alumni Arena this season. The motto of the week at UB: defend home court.
“We protect home court, regardless. Just going out there and letting a team walk all over us and beat us at our home court, that didn’t sit well with us,” UB senior Davonta Jordan said. “We just buckled down and said that would never happen again. We’ve got to protect home court.”
“We feel like Army came in here and punched us in our mouth, we feel like this is our home court and we’ve got to protect it with everything,” UB redshirt freshman LaQuill Hardnett said. “We can’t let that happen again. Never again.”
“The locker room wasn’t nice [after the Army loss], the speech coach had for us wasn’t nice, the practices after weren’t nice, we really knew what we’re about and what we’re capable of,” Jordan said. “Just going out here and knowing we had to respect the game, from now on we just respect every team that we play as if we’re playing Depaul. We just play every game like they’re a high major team and do what we do best, and that’s play hard.”
The Bulls continue the home stand against Big 4 teams on Saturday when Niagara comes to town.