Bulls Nearly Pull Off Improbable Comeback Against Miami
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team rallied from 21 points down midway through the second half to take a 57-56 lead over Miami with one minute remaining. But Allen Roberts hit a pair of free throws with seven seconds left and the RedHawks escaped with a 58-57 win at Alumni Arena on Saturday night.
Leading by six at the half, Miami opened the second stanza on a 21-8 run to lead 54-33 with 10:20 remaining. However, that would be the last field goal the RedHawks would make in the game as the Bulls clamped down on defense and mounted their comeback.
It started with five straight points by Jarryn Skeete that cut the lead to 16. UB then looked to its post players as Cameron Downing (9) and Javon McCrea (6) combined to scored Buffalo's next 15 points. Auraum Nuiriankh grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed free throw and laid it in to cut the Miami advantage to 56-55 with 2:01 left.
McCrea hit a pair of free throws with 1:01 remaining to give the Bulls a 57-56 advantage - their first lead since 5:53 of the first half. In the closing seconds, McCrea came up with a big block at the defensive end, but couldn't gather in the rebound, giving Miami another chance. Roberts drove to the basket and was fouled with six seconds remaining. He made both free throws to put the RedHawks ahead, 58-57.
Buffalo called timeout to call a play, but the inbounds pass was stolen by Geovonie McKnight to seal the win for Miami.
"We didn't play at all in the first 30 minutes of the game. I don't think our energy was good," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "We didn't confront our opponent until there was about 10 minutes left in the game. We had good energy after that, but we didn't close it out."
McCrea recorded his fourth double-double of the season in another stat sheet stuffer. The junior forward finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, four blocks and four steals.
Downing continued his solid play as of late with 14 points, 11 of which came in the second half.
Buffalo forced 20 turnovers and outrebounded Miami, 34-28. The Bulls grabbed 14 offensive rebounds and scored 17 second chance points.
"It's one of the few games you will see a team commit less turnovers and get more rebounds and lose," Witherspoon said. "It's hard to do and we just did it. We've got to finish it out."
Buffalo will remain home and host Kent State on Wednesday night at Alumni Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm.