Balanced Bulls Bounce Niagara
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NY - The University at Buffalo men's basketball team played arguably its best all-around game of the young season to defeat Niagara, 86-80, at the Gallagher Center on Wednesday night. The Bulls shot a season-best 54 percent to hand the Purple Eagles their first home loss of the season.
Rodney Pierce scored a season-high 25 points to lead four UB players in double figures. The senior guard added a career-high nine rebounds and three assists.
John Boyer added 12 points to go along with five rebounds and six assists.
Calvin Betts scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and added nine rebounds and four steals. Titus Robinson also dominated the glass with a career-high 13 rebounds to go along with eight points. As a team, Buffalo outrebounded Niagara, 48-34.
Sean Smiley was a spark off the bench with 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers. All 10 players that saw action for the Bulls scored in the game. Dave Barnett scored a career-best six points and Mike Clifford even got in on the action with the first three points of his career.
The first half was a game of runs as each team went on lengthy scoring runs to take leads. The Bulls held a 40-38 advantage at the break.
Buffalo (4-3) would never trail in the second half, but did have to hold off a pesky Niagara squad. A layup by Jawaan Alston gave the Bulls a 16-point advantage, their largest of the night, with 6:27 remaining.
Niagara (6-4) clawed back and a three-pointer by Tyrone Lewis cut the UB advantage to 71-66 with 3:39 left. However, Boyer found Betts for a backdoor layup and Pierce followed with a three-pointer from the corner to extend the Buffalo lead to 10.
Titus Robinson Consecutive three-pointers by Niagara cut the lead to four with 1:03 left. However, the Bulls were able to hold off the Purple Eagles by sinking their free throws down the stretch. UB made 10-of-12 free throws in crunch time to ice the win.
Max Boudreau made his first start since the 2007-08 season in place of Mitchell Watt and had five points in 15 minutes.
"We were able to score in both halves," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "We had some halves where we scored 40 or more maybe, but we have to sustain. I think that's the big thing."
It was the Bulls' third road win in four tries this season.
Buffalo will return home and host Buffalo State on Saturday afternoon. Tipoff is slated for 2:00 pm.