BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team won its fifth straight game on Wednesday night with a 73-57 win over Ball State at Alumni Arena. The Bulls shot 64 percent from the field in the second half to turn a five-point halftime advantage into a 16-point blowout.
Buffalo (13-6, 6-2 MAC) had three players score in double-figures led by Mitchell Watt who finished with 20 points, two shy of his career high. The senior forward added seven rebounds, four assists and five blocked shots. Zach Filzen finished with 14 points, including four three-pointers. Javon McCrea had 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting and seven rebounds.
Once again, the Bulls were red-hot from beyond the arc, making 10-of-19 three-point attempts. It marked the fifth straight game the Bulls had nine or more three-pointers. Along with Filzen's four, Watt, Auruam Nuiriankh and Tony Watson each had two three-pointers. Nuiriankh and Watson each finished with eight points for the Bulls.
It was a tight game throughout the first half. Ball State took a 22-21 lead with 3:06 left. But the Bulls finished the half on an 8-2 scoring run to take a 29-24 lead at the break.
Ball State (12-8, 4-4 MAC) cut the lead to three early in the second half. But then the Bulls turned up their defense. Jarod Oldham dove for a steal and found a streaking McCrea who hit Filzen with a pass that the senior sharpshooter drained for three points. The play capped a 10-2 scoring run and put the Bulls ahead, 39-28. A pair of McCrea free throws gave the Bulls a 41-30 advantage with 16:50 left and the lead remained in double-digits the rest of the way.
A steal by Watson led to an electrifying fast break dunk by Titus Robinson to extend the UB lead to 62-42 with 6:34 left. Robinson finished with nine points. Watt later hit consecutive three-pointers. His second triple put the Bulls up by 22 – their largest lead of the game.
Buffalo dominated the glass, outrebounding the Cardinals. 36-24. The Bulls had a season-high nine blocked shots in the game.
"We didn't want to give up any edge on the glass and we just kept everything straight up," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "I thought in the second half we did a much better job of getting into a rhythm offensively and finding the shots we enjoy shooting."
Ball State was led by Jarrod Jones who finished with 21 points and eight rebounds –both game highs.
Buffalo will next play the first of two straight road games at Toledo on Saturday night.