At the start of the school year, Jake Simmons wasn’t sure if he would even be allowed to play. The guard had taken a circuitous route to Buffalo State, including enrolling at Finger Lakes and Monroe Community Colleges, which is where the problem was with the NCAA. The Rochester native had already used up his allotted semesters to play basketball.
Just days before the start of the season, the NCAA granted an appeal for another year of eligibility.
Simmons was back on track.
And a 41-year old record fell.
With a career-high 43 points Friday night, Simmons broke Randy Smith’s mark to become the all-time leading scorer in Buffalo State history.
Simmons hit 15 of his 23 shots, including going 6 of 11 from three-point range, and made all seven of his free throws in the Bengals’ 101-98 win over Central Penn College in the Sports Arena.
That gives the Rochester native 1,722 career points, surpassing Smith’s mark of 1,712 which stood since 1971. Smith, a three-sport All-American at Buffalo State, played 12 seasons in the NBA including seven with the Buffalo Braves. He died in June 2009 of a heart attack.
“The first thing is to give proper credit to Randy Smith,” coach Fajri Ansari said. “I was fortunate when I first came to Buffalo to see him play and work with him on some summer leagues. He scored all those points in three years without a three-point line.”
“It’s an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as Randy Smith,” Simmons said. “He’s one of the guys I look up to. He had done so much for the school and for Buffalo. His attitude, he was humble and respected and from what I know just a great person. That’s the kind of person I want to be.”
The Bengals (6-2) travel to Miami, Fla., for games against Eastern Connecticut State and Coe Dec. 21-22.