BUFFALO, NY – St. Bonaventure used a 15-0 second-half scoring run to turn a 5-point Buffalo advantage into a 10-point lead and the Bonnies held on for a 66-60 win in front of a rowdy crowd at Alumni Arena on Saturday night.
Zach Filzen led the Bulls with a season-high 26 points. The senior guard was dialed in from long distance, knocking down 6-of-8 three-pointers. Javon McCrea and Mitchell Watt also reached double-figures in the scoring column with 15 and 10 points, respectively.
It was a close game throughout the first half with neither team holding an advantage of more than five points. The Bulls led 31-29 at the break.
Filzen drained a three-pointer with 12:54 remaining to give Buffalo a 46-41 lead. However, the Bulls failed to score a point for nearly six minutes and the Bonnies capitalized with a 15-0 scoring run to take a 56-46 lead with 7:10 left.
Buffalo rallied, and a conventional three-point play by McCrea followed by a pair of free throws by Tony Watson cut the St. Bonaventure lead to 58-53 with 3:59 on the clock. But St. Bonaventure's All-America candidate Andrew Nicholson was a force down the stretch for the Bonnies. His dunk with 1:28 remaining gave the Bonnies a 62-55 lead.
Filzen's sixth three-pointer of the game cut the lead to 62-58 with 39 seconds left. But that would be as close as the Bulls would get as St. Bonaventure handed UB its first home loss of the season.
Buffalo (4-2) shot just 36.2 percent from the field and failed to get into a rhythm offensively all night.
"We didn't execute offensively," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "We struggled to get into a rhythm. We were very mechanical."
Nicholson finished with 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting and added eight rebounds. The Bonnies shot 59.1 percent from the field in the second half to help pull away for the victory.
Buffalo outrebounded St. Bonaventure, 36-33. Dave Barnett had a team-high eight rebounds.
The Bulls will look to bounce back on Wednesday when they play at Niagara.