Bulls Lose at Western Michigan, 71-60
KALAMAZOO, MI – The Buffalo men's basketball team lost 71-60 at the Western Michigan Broncos (14-7, 6-2 MAC) Saturday night. The Bulls (8-14, 3-5 MAC) shot just 32 percent from the field in the second half after going into halftime tied up. The Broncos also pulled down 15 offensive rebounds to snap a three-game losing streak to UB. Javon McCrea led Buffalo with 22 points and 10 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the conference season.
With the 22 points, McCrea moved into a tie with Rodney Pierce (2007-10) for the 13th most career points in program history. His 10 rebounds also gave him exactly 600 for his career, making him just the sixth Bull ever to do so.
After the last two games in the series were decided by two points or less, the first half of the game was very much the status quo. The first 20 minutes featured six different ties, three lead changes, and neither team led by more than five points. McCrea scored 10 points on 5/7 shooting, but was one-upped by his counterpart in white, Shane Whittington, who scored 13 with four steals.
It was turnovers that kept the Bulls in check offensively, with Western successfully denying post entry passes throughout and forcing 12 turnovers in the half to offset Buffalo's rebounding advantage. That rebounding advantage would be turned on its head on the second half, though, proving to be the difference in the game to Western's benefit.
The Broncos would break the tie game just over 30 seconds into the second half, and would never give up the lead. The margin would wax and wane, eventually topping off at 11 points. The Bulls were unable to chip away due to second-chance opportunities thanks to nine offensive rebounds in the half. The game was also slowed dramatically thanks to 38 fouls called in the second half alone, leading to the disqualification of three UB post players (McCrea, Cameron Downing, and Will Regan).
With the fouls, the second half featured 49 combined free throw attempts, which the recently consistent Bulls hitting only 12 of 21. This comes after making over 71 percent from the line over the past six games.
Buffalo would claw back within four, 60-56, with 3:31 to play in the game, but Buffalo missed its next three shots and Western would snap off a 7-0 run to put the game out of reach.
Tony Watson was the only other Bull in double figures besides McCrea, scoring 11 points on 3-6 shooting from deep and a pair of free throws. Jarryn Skeete had six points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
"We got out-toughed tonight," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "We had three post players foul out so we were thin, but we have to be tough enough to fight through those things. We can't leave nine free throws hanging around like that and we need to lock ourselves in."
After a quick check-in back home, the Bulls will head back to Michigan for its next game, taking on Eastern Michigan Wednesday at 7 pm. The game will be broadcasted on SportsTime Ohio and ESPN3.