Bulls Fall to Bowling Green in Double-Overtime Heartbreaker
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team fell to Bowling Green, 74-71, in double-overtime in the Mid-American Conference opener at Alumni Arena on Saturday night.
Heading into Saturday's contest, the Bulls sat atop the MAC rankings in field goal percentage and field goal percentage defense. However, on this night Buffalo struggled to find its rhythm offensively, shooting just 39 percent from the field and allowed the Falcons to shoot 52 percent from the floor.
The Bulls (8-5, 0-1 MAC) came out of the gates well and shot 58 percent in the first half to hold a 36-30 lead at the break. The Bulls hit 5-of-9 three-point attempts in the first half to counter the Bowling Green zone. Tony Watson II continued his hot shooting making all three of his three-point attempts in the first half.
However, Bowling Green (6-9, 1-0 MAC) clamped down defensively in the second half, holding the Bulls to just 31 percent shooting (9-for-29). The Falcons opened the second stanza on a 10-2 scoring run to take a 40-38 lead with 16:10 left. A Scott Thomas jumper gave the Falcons their largest lead of the night, 55-51, with 5:31 left.
The Bulls battled back and trailed just 60-58 with three seconds left. That is when Jawaan Alston grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled. The senior forward calming sank both free throws to force overtime.
In the first overtime, UB found itself again down by two in the closing seconds, but this time Mitchell Watt grabbed an offensive rebound and his putback tied the game at 69 and forced a second overtime.
Byron Mulkey hit a jump shot to put the Bulls ahead, 71-69, but those would be the last points UB would score as the Falcons scored the final five points of the game.
The loss spoiled a great night for Javon McCrea. The freshman forward continues to open eyes with his play as he had 18 points, on 9-of-11 shooting, and added nine rebounds, three blocks and a pair of steals.
Zach Filzen also reached double-figures with 12 points on four three-pointers. Mulkey finished with 11 points, nine rebounds and three steals while playing all 50 minutes. Watt had eight points and a career-high 12 rebounds.
Bowling Green commanded the play inside, outscoring the Bulls, 50-34, in the paint and outrebounding the Bulls, 46-37. A'uston Calhoun led the Falcons with 20 points and Scott Thomas added 19.
"You have to give Bowling Green credit, they won the basketball game," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "But we missed point-blank shots at the basket and in a game like this, you can't give those away. We missed a ton of shots that were point blank."
Buffalo will next play at Miami (OH) on Thursday night.