Buffalo survives a last second comeback from NIU

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

No lead is safe! People with heart conditions should avoid watching the last 60 seconds of any UB game.

In a rare early afternoon game the Buffalo Bulls welcomed the Northern Illinois Huskies to a snow covered Alumni Arena. The Bulls triumphed do to their an uncharacteristically stingy play. Buffalo's 59-54 win came as UB committed only eleven turnovers and twelve fouls. Auraum Nuiriankh's two late foul shots secured him a double double and sealed the game for UB.

In addition to Auraum Nuiriankh the Bulls also got solid performances out of Javon McCrea (16 points) and Tony Watson II (14 points). Outside of McCrea, and Watson UB struggled shooting the ball going just 9 out of 31 from the field. It was at the line where UB was solid enough to win this game hitting 64% of the 25 free throws that NIU provided. Northern Illinois was led by Abdel Nader who was their only player to top 10 points.

Buffalo led most of the afternoon and usually by a comfortable margin. Several times NIU would come to within five or six points after they had trailed by nine or more but each time the visitors from DeKalb were unable to come within one score until the waning moments of the game.

With 49 seconds left in the game Buffalo went up by 8 points when Will Regan scored on a layup after being fed the ball by Nuiriankh. The Bulls missed five free throws in the last 34 seconds of the game.

Those mistakes gave NIU a chance to take a make or break three point shot. The shot by Abdel Nader which would have made the game 57-57 was off the mark and Nader was forced to foul Nuiriankh who then made both free throws to put the game out of reach.

It was another example of how the normally strong MAC East division is riddled with rebuilding teams this season. If NIU could have won the game it would have been their third win against the East, something which was rarely done by any team in the west over the past few years. Buffalo, along with Miami and Kent and to a lesser extent Bowling Green are far off the mark set by the programs accomplishments in recent years.

Three Point Shot:

1) He did everything right but shoot the Ball:

It's not too often you give a game ball to someone who goes 2-9 from the field but Auraum Nuiriankh also managed ten boards and went 6-9 from the charity stripe. He also managed three assist against just two turnovers. That stat line, and his game saving rebound and free throws, make him the man of the hour as UB won a game they simply could not afford to lose.

2) Skeete Shooting!

If you took Jarryn Skeete shooting the clay pigeons would have been incredibly safe today. The freshman was 2-10 from the field and one of four at the free throw line. He has had better games, and he will have better games in the future but Buffalo won't win too many of the games where their stand in point guard has that kind of night.

3) Gone in 49 seconds.

Hard to believe an eight point lead with 49 seconds is not safe, then again UB has seen bigger leads disappear. At least this time the Bulls hung on for a win.

Northern Illinois Huskies
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Aksel Bolin, G-F 31 2-7 0-4 1-2 1 6 2 1 0 1 2 5
Keith Gray, F 22 3-4 0-0 3-4 1 3 0 0 1 0 2 9
Abdel Nader, G-F 19 5-12 1-7 2-2 0 2 2 2 1 3 4 13
Daveon Balls, G 25 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 7 4 0 0 2 1 0
Darrell Bowie, G-F 25 4-7 0-0 1-2 0 1 1 0 1 0 2 9
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Antone Christian, G 6 1-1 1-1 0-0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 3
Kevin Gray, F 27 3-5 0-0 0-0 1 3 1 0 0 4 3 6
Travon Baker, G 15 0-1 0-0 2-2 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 2
J.J. Cravatta, G 11 1-3 1-3 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3
M Davis 18 1-3 0-0 2-2 0 3 0 0 0 1 3 4
Sam Mader, F 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
20-45 3-16 11-14 5 28 10 3 3 13 22 54
44.4% 18.8% 78.6%
Buffalo Bulls
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Javon McCrea, F 35 5-10 0-0 6-8 3 6 4 1 1 0 4 16
W Regan 27 4-9 1-3 0-0 0 5 0 1 0 1 1 9
Tony Watson II, G 40 5-10 3-6 1-1 0 3 0 0 0 1 2 14
Auraum Nuiriankh, G-F 36 2-9 0-5 6-9 4 10 3 0 1 2 0 10
Jarryn Skeete, G 38 2-10 1-3 1-4 1 5 4 1 0 1 1 6
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Corey Raley-Ross, G 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cameron Downing, C 16 1-2 0-0 2-3 0 1 0 0 0 5 3 4
Xavier Ford, F 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 0
Raphell Thomas-Edwards, F 4 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
19-50 5-17 16-25 9 31 12 4 2 11 12 59
38.0% 29.4% 64.0%
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