1930-1931 Buffalo Bulls Basketball
by Scott Hollander
University at Buffalo Libraries
The Perfect Season – 15 Won, 0 Lost
POETRY and basketball generally do not combine well, but in this case Rudyard Kipling’s sermonic poem, “Co-operation,” applies perfectly to the brand of basketball which the University of Buffalo has witnessed during the past year. No one man stood out head and shoulders above the others; no one man won or lost any game; no one man was responsible for the team’s unparalleled success. In but one way can the squad’s success be accounted for; in but one way can each of the Bulls’ exhibitions be described, and that is co-operation, Team Play.
That is the basic reason for the phenomenally successful career enjoyed by the basketeers this year. By their consistent playing, their dauntless determinedness, their fortitude in the face of impending defeat and possible humiliation, and their fine co-ordination, the boys triumphed in every one of their fifteen games this year, bringing their winning streak up to twenty-five, an achievement believed to be a record. At least the string of twenty-five consecutive victories places the U. B. team ahead of every other Eastern team.
And the Buffalo boys did not match their athletic abilities against those of weak aggregations. They did not meet small, “hick” colleges. They played in the upper circle of intercollegiate basketball.
The season officially opened on December 5th when U.B. opposed Buffalo State Teachers College in their traditional game, inaugurating the seasons of both squads. As usual, the Bulls won, this time by the score of 54-19, a score which adequately describes the fray. Len Schrag alone tallied 16 points and Eddie Malanowicz ran up 13, while Bobby Harrington scored 12. All in all, the match served to introduce the team in all its splendor to its supporters and to give them an inkling of what they might expect from the 1930-31 aggregation.
The team representing Toronto University came to Elmwood Music Hall for the Bulls’ second game, on December 13th, but again our boys showed their fine wares and walked off with a 44-17 verdict. Eddie Malanowicz again shone, aggregating 10 points, while Monk Pryor and Bobby Harrington each scored 9 and Len Schrag totaled 8. Once more the Bisons had displayed that polished form and fine technique for which they are justly famous.
The final outcome, 49-37, hardly tells the story of the game of December 22nd. What a Christmas treat it was! Cornell was in town. It was the initial “big” game of the season. The Bulls were to be tested. And they were. The first half was tense with excitement, the teams playing about even and the scores being about the same. It was a test, not only for the players, but also for the rooters. The second half, however, found the U. B. basketeers easily outrunning, outjumping, outwitting, and outscoring the Ithacans, and the game was pulled from the fire. This time Monk Pryor led the scorers by sinking nine goals from the field, a feat which is ordinarily enviable but which elicited all the more plaudits because of the strength of the opposition.
Buffalo’s season was off on a headstart. Holidays. What would 1931 bring?
For January 2nd, the schedule read “Carnegie at Buffalo.” Carnegie! The school that beat U. B. in football something like 75-2. Everyone was on edge for a nerve-wracking encounter, and no one was disappointed. Once more, the teams battled pretty evenly for the first half and once more our boys had no compunction about stepping far ahead in the second half and thereby sewing up the game. It was getting to be an old Buffalo custom! The inimitable Polish demon, Ed Malanowicz, had the Technicians just about twined around his finger. Alone he netted 16 markers and his activities in the center position gave one to believe “he was born that way!”
The Bulls played their first out-of-town game against Hamilton College at Clinton, N.Y., on January 8th. On the foreign court, the score ran 42-18, which speaks for itself. The stellar center ran up a total of 8 points, while Len Schrag and Tommy Syracuse each scored 7. The game hardly taxed the boys, while it showed citizens of other parts than Buffalo just what sort of basketball U. B. is capable of playing.
On the next night Buffalo played the second game of its trip-University of Buffalo vs. St. Lawrence University at Canton, N.Y. It was the game at Canton in 1930 which afforded Buffalo its only blemish of the season. Opposing a powerful team on a foreign and poorly organized court, the Bulls were on the short end of the 31-26 score when the final gun was heard — but, that was a year ago! Now it was 1931. U. B. had won 15 straight since its defeat at St. Lawrence’s hands and now was determined to avenge the stain. The whistle was blown and the battle was on. And it was never decided until the final signal, when the scoreboard read: Buffalo 46, St. Lawrence 30.
It was the closest game the Bulls had played since the season began. Once more Ed Malanowizc led the scoring, netting 15 points, more than was made by any other two players on his side. But that is not the whole story. Every member of the squad-all eight players participated in the game revealed remarkable defensive ability. Each guarded his man carefully and cautiously. And to keep an opponent from scoring is to score. And above all else, team play stood out.
Our boys, fatigued but determined, completed their road trip the following night at Potsdam, meeting Clarkson Memorial College of Technology, commonly known as Clarkson Tech. The highlight of the game was the ” dead eye” of Mr. Leonard Schrag who sank ten field goals, the record for the year and also the greatest number of points scored by one man in one game during the year. Monk Pryor sank six and a foul shot for 13 points and second place. The final score was 52-33- which is ‘nuf sed, being the third consecutive game on the road trip.
January 14th brought the Niagara University team to Elmwood Music Hall. Niagara was heralded as one of the strongest in these parts and the victor was destined to be termed the champion of Western New York. Once more the first half was one of those close affairs, with U. B. enjoying a slight margin at the end of the half. But once more the second half proved to be U.B.’s heyday and at the conclusion the score of 42-27 told the story. Ambitious Mr. Malanowicz for the nth time starred, aggregating 19 points. U.B.’s supremacy now was conceded.
On January 17th, the Bulls journeyed to Rochester where they landed their traditional rivals a shellacking to the rune of 48-25. The University of Rochester may have a formidable football team, but, as far as their basketball is concerned, the Buffalo team tested it and found it rather mediocre. This time Leo Schrag made 19 points and Eddie Malanowicz made 13.
The Bulls now took a month’s rest, spending a small part of their time on examinations and stretching out the fatigue of a hitherto strenuous season. On February 14th, U. B. worked up all its enthusiasm and proceeded to prove to the Hobart College invaders that it was St. Valentines Day. It was a comfortable, cozy game–just as all Valentines Day games should be –and the score but what does that matter?– was 54-11, a trifle one-sided. Credit should be given to Schrag for his 12 markers and to Malanowicz for his 11.
Clarkson Tech came to Buffalo on February 19th, supposedly to avenge the earlier defeat at U. B.’s hands. But alas! This time the ratio stood at 47-25 when the final Blank pierced the ozone, and of course the Potsdam warriors were content to take the 25! Bobby Harrington, Ed Malanowicz and Len Schrag were the leading scorers.
The most exciting game of the season, the most interesting, the most dramatic, and the most nerve-wracking was the exhibition furnished the next night, February 20th, when the St. Lawrence basketeers made an appearance at Elmwood Music Hall. For the first time during the season, the Bulls were led practically throughout. the game. At the half, St. Lawrence was ahead. It looked as if the Larries might follow their example of the previous year and eke out a triumph over Buffalo. But the Gods were in their heavens. Just as in moving pictures, a short time prior to the final shot, the Bulls managed to forge to the fore. Then they held the Cantonites, and Buffalo 31, St. Lawrence 28, was the outcome. But the secret of the Bulls success was Tommy Syracuse. Carefully examining the score sheets and records, and remembering the game at Canton, St. Lawrence had organized perfect plans to stop all four of U. B.’s premier point getters, Schrag, Malanowicz, Harrington and Pryor, but they were surprised and amazed to find that Buffalo was not dependent on a few of its players to do all the scoring. For Sir Thomas (Syracuse), who had been out of the limelight as back guard up to then and who consequently had little chance for scoring, cut away for five baskets and a foul shot to pull the game from the fire, again proving that U. B.’s team was not a one or two man affair, but a five-man job.
But our boys still had one more big hurdle to leap — Niagara again, this time at the Cataract City, February 25th. The hardest-fought game of the season was this. Seven times during the battle, the teams were tied and neither led for more than a few seconds. But the inspired Purple finally bowed to the fighting Blue and White by the score of 46-43. Schrag with 15 points and Syracuse with 12 were the high scorers, but the victory took more than just scoring. What it took was given by Schrag, Malanowicz, Harrington, Pryor, Syracuse, Joe Pondolfino, and the large number of students who traveled to the Falls for the game.
Two days later, the Bulls matched themselves against the five from Alfred University. Len Schrag ran up 17 points this time for another stellar performance, the Bisons again coming out on top, with the score 44-32. Considering the rush and tear of the previous two games, this was quite a letdown, but our players had to face stiff opposition from an anxious upstate team.
Rochester vs. Buffalo at Elmwood Music Hall on March 6th was the final game of the season, and the Bulls, not at all lackadaisical, decided to afford the spectators a special treat, just for good measure, so they scored and scored and scored, finishing with 59 points to their opponents’ 16. Bobby Harrington, playing his final game for the University of Buffalo, aggregated 20 points, eying the record made by Len Schrag in the Clarkson game. Schrag, too, was playing his last game for his Alma Mater and again he displayed the skill and cleverness for which he has become justly famous. The ever-reliable Eddie Malanowicz also contributed some brilliant playing.
The season was over. U.B. had undergone many trials and tribulations but had overcome all. It won all of its battles, won them fairly and squarely, and came through the season without major injuries to any of the players.
For the second consecutive year, the Blue and White became champion of the New York State Conference. It was the only undefeated team in the East and one of the highest scoring fives in the country. The U. B. string of twenty-five straight victories broke the previous record of twenty-four, held by St. John’s of Brooklyn. And U. B. also boasts of but a single defeat in thirty-four starts-an enviable accomplishment for any college anywhere. The Bulls were recognized nationally as “An exceptional Eastern quintet.”
As for a few statistics, U. B. totaled 700 points for the season, 46.6 average points per game, while its opponents scored only 391 points, averaging 26.09 points per game.
In an effort to bestow credit on individual players for the success of the season, every member of the squad must be mentioned — Schrag, Harrington, Malanowicz, Pryor, Syracuse, Dautsch, Pondolfino, Rauscher and Hoffman. Of course, the first five mentioned carried the main burden as regulars, but to the other four must be given applause for their unstinted enthusiasm and to their stick-to-itiveness. They were ready in the most crucial moments when their aid was needed most. They are destined for regular positions.
To those who played their last season for the University we doff our hats to Leo Shrag and Bobby Harrington. They gave their all. The University will not forget their services. They cannot forget their Alma Mater.
Eddie Malanowicz, however, must be mentioned for his consistent fine form, his polished technique, his continual cleverness and his splendid co-operation. He, of course, was named All-Conference Center, but more than that, his name was placed with those of the other celebrities of Eastern College Basketball on the All-Star team. Of him, Art Powell said, “He’s smart, can do anything and is willing to subordinate himself in order to make for good teamwork.” The last point is the highest tribute any athlete can receive.
All in all, the team as a whole was better than any individual player and better than all the individual players. It was a well coordinated machine. And why? The answer is obvious — Art Powell. This year he realized the ambition of every mentor — an undefeated team. Whatever the team, it is the product of Art’s uncanny ability to coach, his foresight in developing players, and his power to direct the team without the imperiousness, squabbling, and assertiveness of authority which other coaches are known to have. To him, therefore, is this issue of the Iris dedicated. With three fourths of this year’s squad back, Art will find a strong nucleus for another winning machine next year, That will be his seventeenth year as coach of the Blue and White. May he be as successful in 1931-’32 as he has been in 1930-’31.
—1931 Iris Yearbook
1930-1931 Buffalo Basketball Season
|Date||Home Team||Score||Visiting Team||W-L-T||Location|
|12/5/1930||Buffalo||54 – 19||Buffalo State||W||Buffalo, NY|
|12/13/1930||Buffalo||44 – 17||Toronto University||W||Buffalo, NY|
|12/22/1930||Buffalo||49 – 37
|1/2/1931||Buffalo||42 – 31
||Carnegie Tech||W||Buffalo, NY|
|1/8/1931||Hamilton College||18 – 42||Buffalo||W||Clinton, NY
|1/9/1931||St. Lawrence University||30 – 46||Buffalo||W||Canton, NY|
|1/10/1931||Clarkson Tech||33 – 52||Buffalo||W||Potsdam, NY|
|1/14/1931||Buffalo||42 – 27||Niagara University||W||Buffalo, NY|
|1/17/1931||Rochester University||25 – 48||Buffalo||W||Rochester, NY|
|2/14/1931||Buffalo||54 – 11||Hobart College||W||Buffalo, NY|
|2/19/1931||Buffalo||47 – 11||Clarkson Tech||W||Buffalo, NY|
|2/20/1931||Buffalo||31 – 28||St. Lawrence||W||Buffalo, NY|
|2/25/1931||Niagara University||43 – 46||Buffalo||W||Niagara Falls, NY|
|2/27/1931||Buffalo||44 – 32||Alfred University||W||Buffalo, NY|
|3/6/1931||Buffalo||59 – 16||Rochester University||W||Buffalo, NY|
FINAL RECORD: 15-0
Coach: Art Powell
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