Naz men fall to D1 Buffalo in exhibition

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — It was billed as an exhibition game for Nazareth, but host Buffalo played for keeps Monday as the Division I Bulls recorded their first men’s basketball victory of the season, 109-72, over the Golden Flyers at UB’s Alumni Arena.

Hungry for a victory after dropping their season opener against Dartmouth last Friday, the Bulls had six double-digit scorers and shot a blistering 16-for-31 (.516) from three-point range to dominate the Golden Flyers, who were playing in Buffalo for the second time in three nights after defeating Buffalo State, 78-69, Saturday. It also marked the third time in the last four seasons that the Golden Flyers played an exhibition game against a formidable Division I opponent. Nazareth also played the Bulls in 2016, then at Colgate last season. The Bulls are coming off the best season in their history as they finished 32-4 in 2018-19 and reached the NCAA Tournament.

Nazareth had the lead early on as junior Stephen Gabel (Fairport) and senior Cody Green each hit three-point shots for an 8-2 lead. After the Bulls recovered, Nazareth got another three-pointer from freshman Kobe Bogart to keep Nazareth within one point, 21-20 with 12:38 to go. The Bulls eventually settled in and pulled away by showering Nazareth with a barrage of long-distance shots of their own. They went 23-for-36 from the floor (.639) in the first half, including 10-for-17 (.588) from three-point range. By the time the dust settled, the Bulls led 63-34 at the half and weren’t seriously challenged thereafter.

Jayvon Graves and Ronaldo Segu each finished with 17 points, combining to make 11 of 16 shots with seven three-pointers. Josh Mballa added 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Gabe Grant, Antwain Johnson and Jeenathan Williams each scored 12.

Nazareth had several bright spots as well as all 15 red players saw action. Freshman Vanzell Johnson (Fairport) scored 11 points with two assists and two steals. Bogart and freshman Jordan Haggard each scored nine points. Gabel and freshman Josh Stenglein (Irondequoit) each scored eight. Nazareth shot 27-for-63 (.429) from the field with nine three-pointers in 23 tries (.391).

Nazareth resumes its regular-season schedule this weekend with the Mike Daley Memorial Invitational. The Golden Flyers will have a pre-game ceremony prior to Friday’s 8 p.m. game between Nazareth and Hunter to name the basketball court in honor of Daley, who coached the Golden Flyers for 23 seasons (1986-2009) and passed away last January. Vassar and Fredonia play in the first game at 6. Saturday’s games are at 1 and 3.

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