Bulls Clamp Down on Defense to Defeat Northern Illinois
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team used good old fashioned defense to defeat Northern Illinois at Alumni Arena on Saturday afternoon. The Bulls downed the Huskies, 63-52, to earn their fifth straight win.
Northern Illinois' Xavier Silas entered the game as the nation's second leading scorer. The Bulls were able to hold Silas to 4-of-15 shooting from the floor. He did finish with 20 points after making 12-of-13 free throws.
Buffalo (13-6, 5-2 MAC) held the Huskies to 35.7 percent shooting from the floor and forced 17 turnovers.
Zach Filzen led the Bulls offensive effort with 21 points and continued to shoot lights out from beyond the arc as he knocked down five three-pointers. The junior sharpshooter has now drained 16 three-pointers over the last three games.
Byron Mulkey added 19 points, five rebounds and four assists. He and Filzen accounted for 40 of the Bulls' 63 points.
UB never trailed in the game, taking the lead for good on a three-pointer by Mulkey just 2:24 into the game. The Bulls held a 27-24 advantage at the break.
Leading, 34-31, early in the second half, the Bulls started to find their rhythm. Buffalo scored on nine straight possessions to extend its lead to 54-37 with 10:06 left.
Northern Illinois (7-12, 3-4 MAC) fought back with a 10-1 scoring run of their own to cut the UB advantage 55-47 with 4:17 remaining. However, the Huskies would get no closer as the Bulls held them off for the victory.
The Bulls matched a season low with 10 turnovers and only three coming in the second half.
"I thought we did a good job of trying to make it difficult for Silas," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. ""He got to the line a lot, but 4-of-15 from the field is tough to force him in to because he hasn't had a lot of games like that."
Buffalo will remain home and host Toledo on Wednesday night at Alumni Arena.