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UB basketball to face Syracuse for second straight season on Dec. 18

UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO ATHLETICS

BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team will return to the Carrier Dome for the second straight year as the Bulls will face Syracuse in a non-conference showdown on Dec. 18. After having not played since 2001, the two teams met last season in a game that Syracuse won late, 81-74.

Both Buffalo and Syracuse are not only coming off NCAA Tournament appearances this past season, but both teams won games in the NCAA Tournament as the Bulls defeated PAC-12 champion Arizona in the first round, while Syracuse got in to the tournament as one of the final four teams and advanced all the way to the Sweet Sixteen following wins over Arizona State, TCU, and Michigan State, before falling to Duke 69-65.

Many have credited Syracuse's win over Buffalo last season as one of their resume-defining victories for their at-large selection into the NCAA Tournament including Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, who following the NCAA Selection Show noted that its win over a Top 30 RPI team like the Bulls went a long way in their inclusion in the field of 68.

"I think this a natural rivalry here in New York because of the proximity of the two schools," said head coach Nate Oats.  "If you look at last season that game helped both of us with our NCAA Tournament resumes and one of the biggest things you are looking for in non-conference play is to build your postseason resume as much as you can entering conference play.  Our guys really enjoyed the experience last season so for them it will be great to play at the Carrier Dome again and for our new players, I am happy they will get a chance to play against one of the most historical programs in all of college basketball."

Syracuse was led last season by Tyus Battle, who averaged 19.2 points per game.  The Orange are still awaiting the decision on if Battle will return next season or if he will remain in the NBA Draft.  Oshae Brissett will return to Syracuse next season as he averaged 14.9 points and 8.8 rebounds during his freshman campaign.

The Syracuse announcement comes on the heels of Buffalo announcing its participation in the Belfast Classic from Nov. 29 through Dec. 1.  Other non-conference road dates that have already been set for the upcoming season are games at West Virginia (Nov. 9) and Marquette (Dec. 21).