Buffalo made their second trip of the year to Kalamazoo, and again they came away victorious. Unlike their visit earlier this season UB did not win because of a solid offensive effort. The Bulls survived one of the worst looking Mid-American Conference games of the season.
Some might call it a defensive battle because each team was held to its lowest scoring output of the season. But that does not account for the combined 12-33 free throw shooting... Let that sink in... 12-33 free thow shooting. The Bulls were just 7-23 while the Bronco's checked in with a better but still unimpressive 5-10.
Buffalo jumped out to an 18-8 lead, but disappeared for the last eight minutes of the half, scoring just a pair of field goals to go into the haft down 26-23. They matched that effort by soring just eight points in the first nine minutes of the second half while letting the Broncos put up 15.
It was not until there was about ten minutes left in the game that the Bulls seemed to wake up, finding themselves down 41-32 UB began to crawl back into the game. It was at this point that WMU went cold and UB went on a seven minute 9-1 run to get back into the game.
Zach Filzen who was the invisible man all game long hit the game winning layup with 1:50 left.
What happened next pretty mush summed up how bad both teams played:
|1:17||Howard missed Three|
|1:09||Ward Missed Three|
|0:40||Foul on Ward|
|0:40||Alston Missed FT|
|0:40||Alston Missed FT|
|0:11||Byron Mulkey Steal.|
|0:06||Ward missed Jumper.|
Ok got all that? WMU was 0-3 with a turnover and one rebound. The Bulls were 0-2 from the line with two turnovers (including a walk by Filzen). If not for the rebounding of Watt UB loses this game.
The Difference Was:
Buffalo played slightly less ugly ball. Shooting aside the Bulls played better than the Broncos. Nine steals, fewer fouls, and most of all better rebounding.
Player of the Game:
Gotta go with Alston, just edging out Mulkey. Alston shot 50% from the field (9 points) and had five rebounds. Mulkey may have had a bigger impact on the game but you can't give a guy who went 3-11 from the floor your player of the game.
Nice to See:
UB out rebound WMU, Watt's rebounding late was critical and it came against one of the better rebounding teams in the conference.
Not so Nice to See:
The free throw shooting. A common chant among citizens of UB Nation is 'practice free throws until your hands bleed'. That is true now more than any other point. If UB shoots 60% from the line they have another seven points.
A trip down state to New Rochelle to take on Iona in the quarter finals, the winner probably faces the victor ot Ohio versus Eastern Tennessee. Unless Jacksonville beats SMU, then all bets are off.