BUFFALO, NY – Despite a career-high 33 points by Javon McCrea, the University at Buffalo men's basketball team lost to Kent State, 80-68, at Alumni Arena on Wednesday night. The game was marred by a combined 55 fouls whistled on the teams.
It was the second straight double-double and third in four games for McCrea who added 10 rebounds, four blocked shots and two steals to his stat line. He was a perfect 15-for-15 from the free throw line – the third most free throws made in a game in school history. The junior forward shot 9-of-12 from the field.
It was a close game throughout before Kent State pulled away late. McCrea had 21 points at the break and the Bulls trailed, 40-36, at halftime. Trailing, 52-47, with 15:48 left, the Bulls went on a 13-4 scoring run. An Auraum Nuiriankh free throw capped the run and put the Bulls ahead, 60-56, with 9:29 left.
A pair of Xavier Ford free throws put Buffalo ahead, 66-64, with 5:43 remaining. The Golden Flashes responded with an 8-0 run to gain a 72-66 advantage with 2:22 left. McCrea's 14th and 15th made free throw cut Kent State's lead to 72-68 with 1:59 remaining. However, the Bulls wouldn't score again and the Flashes made eight straight free throws to close out the game.
The Bulls struggled from long distance, shooting just 3-of-22 from beyond the arc. Conversely, Kent State knocked down 9-of-17 three-point attempts.
Buffalo made a living at the free throw line, making 33-of-38 attempts. The 33 makes were the fourth most made in a single game in school history.
"Our guys battled to the end," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "Obviously the two areas our guys struggled in were turnovers and three-point shooting. I think our guys are battling like crazy, but that's pretty much how the game played out."
29 fouls were called against Kent State and the Golden Flashes had four players foul out. The Bulls had 26 fouls whistled against them and one disqualification.
Buffalo will host Bowling Green on Saturday night at 7:00 pm at Alumni Arena.