Buffalo’s chances of returning to the NCAA tournament took a major blow on Monday afternoon, as forward Justin Moss was dismissed from the team.
Moss, along with teammates Raheem Johnson and Mory Diane, was suspended in June after the three were caught stealing money from the dorm room of two Buffalo football players.
“Justin Moss is not currently enrolled in classes at the University at Buffalo, nor is he participating in university activities,” read a statement released by the university. “Because of federal privacy laws protecting student records, the university cannot comment further on this matter.”
As a junior, Moss was the team’s leading scorer and rebounder at 17.5 points and 9.2 boards per game, en route to MAC Player of the Year honors. He led the Bulls to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history.
According to the statement, Johnson and Diane, two reserve players, are both still enrolled in the classes and remain members of the men’s basketball program. Moss had been on probation due to a prior on-campus theft.
Nate Oats’ inherited a terrific team when he was hired to replace the departing Bobby Hurley, but after Moss’ dismissal and Shannon Evans’ decision to follow his coach to Arizona State, the Bulls are down their two top scorers from a season ago.
Moss, a senior forward, fellow senior forward Raheem Johnson and sophomore guard Mory Diane took $650 from two victims in a second-degree burglary on June 2nd in which they illegally entered. The players later returned the money after the issue was brought up by members of the Buffalo coaching staff. No charges were filed in the matter, which was handled by University Police.
The fate of the players will be decided by the Student-Wide Judiciary, which conducts hearings on student misconduct matters. The Buffalo News report states that the hearing could happen in the next two weeks. Possible punishment includes expulsion from school, or possibly being deemed ineligible for the first semester of the season.
If Moss were to miss any time for Buffalo, it would be a devastating loss, as he averaged 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season. Johnson is a reserve forward who played around 11 minutes per game last season, while Diane hardly played during his freshman season.
The national championship game ended with UConn winning its second title in four years, but James Young left his mark midway through the second half. Amida Brimah gets a lot of his arm, and the 6-foot-7 Young was still able to finish.
The Razorbacks has two wins over ranked opponents during the 2013-14 season, both of which came against Kentucky. Arkansas left Michael Qualls alone on the baseline with time winding down in overtime. When you don’t box out one of the best dunkers in the country, this is what happens.
Apologies, Big Blue Nation. Kentucky is one the wrong end of another memorable dunk. Willie Cauley-Stein is arguably the best defensive player in the country. Buffalo’s Justin Moss didn’t care. The Bulls gave the Wildcats a scare before top-ranked Kentucky ran away with a 19-point win.
Florida Gulf Coast was branded “Dunk City” during its Sweet 16 run in 2013. That carried over to the following season thanks to Bernard Thompson. This was one of two dunks in a week-span for the star shooting guard. He had this tip slam against Northern Kentucky earlier that week.
Ty Wallace, Cal: I’m firmly entrenched on the Ty Wallace bandwagon, having said repeatedly that there is no player in the country as underrated as Cal’s star point guard. Look at this stat line: 19.3 points, 8.8 boards, 4.2 assists and 46.9 percent shooting from three.
Justin Anderson, Virginia: Anderson’s emergence into Virginia’s leading scorer has been the biggest surprise of the season for me. Always known as a great athlete and teammate, Anderson is now averaging 15.1 points and shooting 60.0 percent from three. He’s not a go-to guy, but he’s been Tony Bennett’s most valuable weapon thus far.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky: Cauley-Stein is starting to live up to his potential this season, becoming the nation’s most versatile defender while anchoring on college basketball’s best defense. A 7-foot-1 center, he can switch ball-screens and has been tasked with stopping an opponent’s best wing scorer at times this season.
Robert Upshaw, Washington: Washington’s emergence as a top three team in the Pac-12 can almost entirely be credited to Upshaw, who has become the nation’s premiere shot-blocking presence. He’s averaging 4.6 blocks in just 20 minutes and has completely changed the way that Washington is able to defend. I’d argue he’s one of the ten most valuable players in the country right now.
Christian Wood, UNLV: Wood is playing like a first round draft pick, averaging 13.9 points, 9.6 boards and 3.0 blocks for the Rebels. He had 24 points and 10 boards in UNLV’s win over No. 3 Arizona on Tuesday night.
Terry Rozier, Louisville: Rozier has done much of what was expected of him this season. His scoring is up to 16.5 points from 7.0 as a freshman, and while he’s not shooting quite as well from the perimeter this season, his percentages are up overhaul and he’s turned into one of the nation’s best, and most important, secondary options.
Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse: Someone had to become a scorer for Syracuse this season, and thus far in the year it’s been the senior big man that’s done it. He’s averaging 16.5 points and 8.7 boards, a bright spot in an otherwise frustrating season for the Orange.
Zach Auguste, Notre Dame: Auguste has always had the potential to be a big-time scorer in the paint for the Irish, and he’s finally reaching it this year. Auguste’s averaging 14.8 points through the first month, although it will be interesting to see what happens when the Irish start to play some tougher competition.
Levi Randolph, Alabama: Randolph has become a go-to guy for Alabama as a senior, as he’s now posting some impressive numbers: 16.5 points, 4.9 boards and 3.1 assists for the 8-3 Tide.
Dylan Ennis, Villanova: Who saw this coming from Ennis? He’s Villanova’s leading scorer, their most dangerous three-point shooter and one of the best defenders on the roster.
Stefan Nastic, Stanford: With so much of Stanford’s front line graduating, Nastic’s role has been dramatically increased this year, and it’s paying off. Nastic is averaging 14.5 points and has become one of the better low-post scorers on the west coast.
Justin Moss, Buffalo: As a sophomore, Moss averaged 3.8 points and 3.2 boards playing behind Javon McCrea. As a junior, those numbers have bumped up to 17.3 points and 10.2 boards. Oh, and he did this.
Malcolm Hill, Illinois: Hill started a handful of games as a freshman, but as a sophomore he’s moved into a major role for John Groce. His scoring has bumped up to 12.8 points this year, as the Illini look like they could contend for a spot in the NCAA tournament.
Damian Jones, Vanderbilt: Jones has developed into the star we expected him to be as a sophomore, averaging 16.5 points and 7.1 boards.
Denzel Valentine, Michigan State: The Spartans have been a disappointment through the season’s first month, but Valentine has been terrific. These numbers are nothing to joke about: 14.5 points, 5.5 boards, 4.3 assists, 50.0 percent from three.
POSTERIZED: Willie Cauley-Stein gets slammed on by Buffalo’s Justin Moss (VIDEO)
In only the second game of the season, Kentucky has its hands full with Buffalo and familiar foe Bobby Hurley. The Bulls took a 38-33 lead into halftime.
Buffalo came out aggressive, pushing the ball in transition to get some good looks early. Defensively, they were physical inside against the Kentucky bigs, and they weren’t afraid to go at the lengthy frontline on the offensive end either, as evident by Justin Moss’ one-handed slam over Willie Cauley-Stein, the 7-foot shot blocker. That highlight gave Buffalo a 30-25 lead with 6:20 to go in the first half.