BOWLING GREEN, OH – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team earned a hard-fought road win at Bowling Green, 68-66, at the Stroh Center on Saturday afternoon. The Bulls were a sizzling 8-of-10 from beyond the arc in the second half to earn their first Mid-American Conference road victory of the year. With their second straight win, the Bulls improved to 10-6 overall and 3-2 in MAC play.
Bowling Green (8-10, 2-3 MAC) built its one-point halftime lead to its largest of the game, seven, with 14:54 left. But the Bulls battled back and Dave Barnett drained a three-pointer to tie the game at 46 with 9:31 remaining. It started a parade of threes for the Bulls. Five of UB's final six field goals of the game were of the three-point variety.
Jarod Oldham connected on a three-pointer for the third straight game and Tony Watson followed with a trey of his own to put the Bulls ahead, 54-51. Barnett followed with another three-pointer to put the Bulls ahead, 58-51. Mitchell Watt got into the act on the Bulls' next possession as he nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key to give UB its largest lead of the game, 61-53, with 5:29 left.
However, the Falcons fought back and thanks to an 11-2 scoring run regained a 64-63 lead with 1:47 remaining. But on the Bulls' next possession, Oldham found a cutting Javon McCrea for a monster two-handed dunk that gave the Bulls the lead for good, 65-64.
After a defensive stop, Barnett, nicknamed "Big Shot Dave" by his teammates, came off a screen and buried a three-pointer to give Buffalo a 68-64 lead with 57 seconds remaining. Bowling Green cut the lead to two with 46 seconds left and after Barnett missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity, had the ball with five seconds left. However, Watt sent Jordan Crawford's game-tying layup attempt deep into the Stroh Center seats to preserve the UB victory.
"For us it was ball movement and trusting our ball movement," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "We wanted to force them into thinking about coming out of that zone. At halftime we said that we have to move the basketball and trust our movement and we have to make them shift. We did enough that they had to go back to their man-to-man."
McCrea notched his fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Watt also scored 16 points for UB. The Bulls got big production from their bench, outscoring Bowling Green's 24-3. Watson finished with 11 points and shot 3-of-4 from beyond the arc. Barnett also made three three-pointers and finished with nine points.
Oldham continued his solid play at point guard with nine points, six assists and three steals. He became the fastest UB player to reach 100 assists in a season since Ryan Peterson in 1998.
Buffalo returns home to host Eastern Michigan on Tuesday night.