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Buffalo Bulls 82, Ball State Cardinals 78: Critical road trip begins with win, slew of fouls

Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

There is nothing to [WHISTLE] learn from this game, and it's not because of poor [WHISTLE] by either team. It's just tough to play basketball with that [WHISTLE] many whistles.

So much went [WHISTLE] right in Buffalo's last game [WHISTLE] that it would be folly [WHISTLE] to expect a similar performance [WHISTLE] on the road tonight at Ball [WHISTLE] State. And truthfully, UB [WHISTLE] played well when [WHISTLE] basketball was being played - Ball [WHISTLE] State never really stopped [WHISTLE] the Buffalo offense.

The Bulls got back to [WHISTLE] their formula from earlier in the [WHISTLE] season, as Shannon Evans and [WHISTLE] Justin Moss rode 15 and [WHISTLE] 10 points in the first half [WHISTLE] to 25 and 17, respectively. Unfortunately, [WHISTLE] built into that was a poor, 5-point day [WHISTLE] from Xavier Ford, though the senior [WHISTLE] did hit a late three that [WHISTLE] proved critical [WHISTLE] when the [WHISTLE] Cardinals kept coming.

Buffalo did [WHISTLE] force 16 [WHISTLE] turnovers, but most significantly, [WHISTLE] the teams were [WHISTLE] whistled for officially 52 - though I think it was more like 57 - combined fouls. The game [WHISTLE] took forever to [WHISTLE] end after 25 of [WHISTLE] those infractions came [WHISTLE] in the final [WHISTLE] 16 minutes.

Despite all [WHISTLE] that, Buffalo kept a multiple-possession lead [WHISTLE] through much of [WHISTLE] the second half. When Moss had to sit out, ultimately [WHISTLE] for good with [WHISTLE] five fouls, Raheem [WHISTLE] Johnson and Will Regan came up big. Somehow Buffalo [WHISTLE] kept hitting outside [WHISTLE] shots to answer [WHISTLE] the home team's runs, and [WHISTLE] enjoyed a seven-point lead with 1:14 [WHISTLE] to play. Even then, it got [WHISTLE] close and dicey until [WHISTLE] two clutch free throws from [WHISTLE] Lamonte Bearden finally iced it with 10 seconds left.

Before all that, the back-and-forth first half turned into a solid lead as yet another UB opponent failed to capitalize on their free throws. Even [WHISTLE] though Rodell Wigginton and Xavier Ford reached two fouls apiece in the first ten minutes, it was Ball State who hit the break with two players at three infractions. The Cardinals were forced to put Bo Calhoun and Franko House back in thanks to UB pressure on both ends that turned a 19-23 deficit in a 33-24 Buffalo lead thanks to fully nine minutes [WHISTLE]without a Cardinal field goal.

UB's next one is pretty much [WHISTLE] the biggest of the season to date: A matchup with Akron in northeastern Ohio. We're now at the halfway point of the MAC season, and UB is in great position to finish [WHISTLE] strong with five home games in the last eight, but they have to [WHISTLE] get this one against Akron to really start to build something. If you're a student reading this who hasn't RSVP'd for the bus trip, you've got until noon tomorrow - [WHISTLE]

Sorry guys, just fouled out.