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Buffalo Bulls at Western Michigan Broncos

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Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Game 14: Buffalo (10-3, 1-0) at WMU (9-5, 0-1)
Date - January 10th Last Meeting (2014): UB 84 - WMU 63
Time - 1:00 PM
MAC Record 0-1
Venue - University Arena (MI), Kalamazoo, Michigan Opponent Rankings - RPI (174)

The Bulls opened conference play with a road win but it was not the statement game that the Blue and White faithful were hoping to see. After crushing Miami in the first half the Bulls threw away 10 of their possessions on turnovers in the second. On the defensive side UB let Miami shoot 62.5% of their shots from inside the arc.

The Redhawks thrice pulled to within a possession but UB was able to fend off Miami.

Of course Jarryn Skeete was dressed for the game but once again coach Bobby Hurley kept him off the court as he heals from a practice injury. As the competition gets better his services will be needed and the Bulls young guards will need to grow up a little bit.

Buffalo Bulls 79, Miami Redhawks 72: Takeaways from the MAC Opener - Bull Run
Within the box score, the two combined for 9 of UB's 15 turnovers and just 3-16 shooting from the field. Evans did add 5 assists, but Bearden did little except for 3-4 from the line. Each also racked up four fouls. It should be said that the sophomore, as he did many times last year, put up a notable point total thanks to 7 made free throws. It's significant that he finds a way to score no matter what.

Despite their loss to Akron as the season opened the defending MAC Champion Western Michigan Broncos may still be a team to contend with. In the MAC preseason poll WMU was picked to finish 2nd in the West and received one vote to repeat as conference champions. That same poll had Buffalo at 4th in the east.

WMU opened MAC play at Akron where they shot a paltry 35.3 percent as the Zips took used a 10 point half time lead and a second-half-opening 12-0 run to put down the Broncos

Tucker Haymond scored 21 points and David Brown added 14 points and four assists but the Broncos shot poorly and were severely outrebounded. Throw in sub-50% free throw shooting and it's easy to see how the Zips walked away with the win.

The Broncos are the sixth best three point shooting team in the nation. Their 40% shooting beyond the arc is also good for first in the conference. They are also pretty good in close with the second best team field goal percentage in the MAC.

Where the Bronco's usually struggle is in the defensive paint. Western Michigan is last among MAC teams for both defensive rebounds and shots blocked. They tend to give up a lot of second chance points so look for Justin Moss and Xavier Ford to be factors if UB is going to win.

Hopefully Skeete will be ready to go. In the nine games before his injury the junior was averaging almost 11 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists on 50% shooting from distance.

The last time these two teams squared off Javon McCrea scored 20 points, Shannon Evans had 17, Justin Moss and Joshua Freelove added 14 apiece, and Will Regan chipped in with 10. Buffalo cruised past Western Michigan 84-63 after trailing the game for the first six minutes.

The game is Saturday at 1:00 and like Miami may be available only via a pay stream; the Broncos vs Bulls game is not currently listed on ESPN3.