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Buffalo Bulls vs. Syracuse Orange, 12-18-18: In-game report

A one-sided rivalry in upstate New York finished with a new twist on Tuesday night.  The 14th-ranked Buffalo Bulls defeated Syracuse, 71-59, to earn their first victory against the Orange since 1963.  DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson gives his impressions in this in-game report:

2 Jeremy Harris (6’7 185) Buffalo guard- Senior

Harris was the conductor of the Buffalo offense against the Orange. Against Syracuse’s famed 2-3 zone, Harris manned the middle and made passes from the free throw line to initiate the Bulls offense. The senior guard also showed the ability to drive to the basket using a hesitation dribble and despite a low percentage this season, he has shot the ball well from three in the past (41 percent in 2017-18).  Harris has good length and a strong offensive skill-set but his lateral quickness and strength will be tested at the next level.   the season, Harris is averaging 13 points per game, five rebounds and 2.7 assists.

5 C.J. Massinburg (6’3 194) Buffalo guard-Senior

Massinburg has been the go-to scorer for the Bulls over the last three seasons.  This year, he is averaging 17 points per game on 48- percent shooting. Earlier in the season against West Virginia, he scored 43 points and against Syracuse, he had 25. Despite a slight build, Massingburg isn’t afraid to rebound the ball.  He’s averaging seven rebounds on the season.  His team relies on him for so much of the scoring load that he hasn’t prioritized setting up others at Buffalo, but this will be a needed skill  for Massinburg to make it in the NBA as a guard. 

25 Tyus Battle (6’6 205) Syracuse-Junior 

When it comes to big shot making, Tyus Battle is the equivalent of Buffalo’s C.J Massinburg.

“He makes (big shots),“ Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said, after Battle hit a game winning shot against Georgetown earlier in the season. “He makes a lot of big shots, probably as much as anybody who’s been here or more. He’s right there.”

“He’s a very good player. He hurt us last year and he hurt us this year,” added former Georgetown All-American center and current head coach, Patrick Ewing.

Against Buffalo, Battle scored 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Battle is best when he can get out in transition, and then avoid players with his strong two-handed dribbling abilities.  From his downhill attacking,  Battle can open up his game with his pull-up jumper. 

Here is an example of how Battle’s constant push of the ball in transition forces defenders to backpedal and give him a free release on his jumper:

As is always the question with Syracuse players, can Battle play man to man defense after spending years in the 2-3 zone?

Sam Beal CB Western Michigan

1 Sam Beal 6’1 178 CB-Junior

 What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Long. Plays fast. He’s shown outstanding effort in cross-field pursuit (ran down Holsey, 1st play, FF, Buffalo ’17). Excellent body control. Nearly tipped a fade to himself along the sidelines with a high-wire act vs. USC in 2017.   In his bail techniques, he closes out of his zone turns to break downhill. Uses a positive look-and-lean technique in man coverage down the field (press-man). Turns his head to find the ball with his back to the QB.

Weaknesses: Ruled academically ineligible for the 2018 season due to a shortage of credits.   Missed three games as a junior in high school due to a knee injury. A hamstring injury caused him to miss the state finals in track & field as a high school junior. Missed the second half of the Buffalo game and the Akron game in 2017.  Needs to continue to fill out his frame.  He missed some tackles vs. USC in 2017 due to inadequate play strength.  Stands up when breaking forward out of his breaks.

 Other Notes:

  • Attended Ottawa Hills HS (Mich.) and was a four-time All-American in track & field
  • Ran a 10.63 100-meters in the semifinals of the 2013 MHSAA State track & field championships and finished 3rd in the 100-meter finals (10.86)
  • 2015: 15 tackles, PBU
  • 2016: 55 tackles, 8 PBUs
  • 2017 (2nd Team All-MAC): 26 tackles, 3 TFLs, FF, 2 INTs and 10 PBUs
  • 2018 Western Michigan Pro Day: 4.48 40-yd, 10’6” BJ, 37” VJ, 4.09 20-yd SS, 7.1 3-cone

 Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Beal’s idol is Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. While not as gifted, he does have similar confidence finding the ball down the field in man-to-man coverage. Despite satisfactory effort running to the ball, he’s been ordinary at times getting off of blocks. In addition, he’s been hit-or-miss as a tackler. The former high school track standout has also endured his share of durability hiccups dating back to his prep level playing career. There is not question, however, that he has starting potential as a press-bail corner at the next level. If he can clean up his off-man technique, it will complement his consistent bump-and-run technique. While there are questions surrounding his inability to stay eligible, the Western Michigan coaches gave him high marks when it came to work ethic and consistency. He is a player that will get consideration in the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft as a potential second-round option.