The men’s basketball team destroyed Buffalo State, 88-57, on Monday in the Louis Alexander Palestra. The team shot 58 percent from the field, their highest percentage of the season. The victory was led by junior Uche Ndubizu, who was nine for 10 from the field and finished with a career high 21 points. Junior sharp-shooter Rob Dominiak nailed four out of five shots from beyond the arc giving him 12 points.

The Yellowjackets also defeated Washington & Jefferson University, 76-44, thanks to a dominant second half effort in the Palestra last Saturday. Ndubizu led the charge with a feverish intensity as he made six of seven shots from the floor and added 10 rebounds. He finished with 16 points, while sophomore Mike Chmielowiec notched 10 points and six rebounds.

After leading by only eight at the break, the Yellowjackets came out and dominated with a suffocating defense that didn’t allow a field goal for the first 9:30 of the half. W&J shot only 29 percent from the floor in the second half, while UR nailed 70 percent of their shots.

“We definitely picked up the defensive intensity in the second half and our defense led to some easy buckets,” junior Jeff Juron said

The ‘Jackets’ intensity was apparent as they began the second half by outscoring the Presidents 18-1, extending their lead to 47-22.

Last Tuesday, the ‘Jackets hosted Nazareth College in a game that took overtime to decide. Although UR came out on top 74-71, the Golden Flyers wouldn’t go away. They kept the score close for the whole game, never trailing by more than 10.

Junior Jon Onyiriuka posted 19 points while Juron finished with 15. Onyiriuka also grabbed 10 rebounds, five steals and two blocked shots. He was five for five from the charity stripe.

When asked about his clutch free throws coming down the stretch, Onyiriuka said, “I was thinking that we need each and every point in order to win this game.” His teammates must have been thinking along the same lines, because they were money from the line, shooting 81 percent (17-21).

UR led by six with only 36 seconds left until Nazareth cut the lead to three with only a few ticks left on the clock setting up some last second drama. After a missed three pointer for the Golden Flyers, Naz guard Tyler Smith frantically grabbed the rebound and kicked it out to Rayvon Higdon, who nailed the 24-footer with only 3.9 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

Joe Canori led off the extra period with a trey that gave Naz their first lead of the game. After a couple of Onyiriuka free throws and an old-fashioned three point play by Juron, UR was up 68-66 with 2:51 to play. After a Nazareth bucket, Onyiriuka and Juron converted back to back lay-ups before the Golden Flyers closed the gap 72-71. Chmielowiec then made two free throws to extend the lead to three with 19 seconds left. Again Higdon had an opportunity to send the game into another extra period, but this time Juron blocked his three point attempt at the buzzer.

Corey McAdam led Nazareth with 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

“It felt good to get a win in a close game. We needed a win like that to move in the right direction,” Onyiriuka said after the game.

Rochester also hosted the Chuck Resler Tournament to open the season with a split against Ithaca College and Lake Erie College last week. After defeating Ithaca 81-72, the Yellowjackets fell to Lake Erie 73-62 in the championship game.

In the opener against the Bombers, the team seemed to be running on all cylinders’ as all five starters hit double digits in the points column. Senior Tim Brackney and Chmielowiec reached career highs, scoring 18 and 16, respectively.

Brackney knocked down three three-pointers while Chmielowiec added four assists in the winning effort. Ndubizu had a great opening night as he contributed to the win with a double-double, scoring 15 points while ripping down a game-high 11 rebounds. Onyiriuka finished with 13 and nine, while Juron was 10-12 from the free-throw line, from where all of his points came.

In the championship, UR struggled to get anything going. After the first half, the closest they came was within three points of Lake Erie, who won the game 73-62. Chmielowiec had 16 points, while Brackney finished with 13. Both were named to the all tournament team for the Yellowjackets.

The Yellowjackets are 4-1 and begin their conference play this Saturday when they travel to Pittsburgh where they will battle archrival Carnegie Mellon. Their next home game is Tuesday, Dec. 5 against Hobart. When asked about the necessary factors that contribute to the team’s success, Ndubizu simply said, “If we play hard, we will win games.”

Kahovec is a member of the class of 2008.

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