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Buffalo Bulls 77, Bowling Green Falcons 75: Senior Night Takeaways

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Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

I got away from game-by-game takeaways late in the season as we had seen nearly every side of this team and the question was simply which one - the focused version that's ruled the last six games, or the stumbling version that went from 6-3 to 6-6 in the blink of an eye - was going to show up.

Today, after the thrilling 77-75 win that not only sent Will Regan and Xavier Ford off in style, but sent UB straight into the semifinals of the MAC Tournament, I've got more things to say, and there's no more concerns about seedings and looking around the MAC. If not for last night and the rest of UB Athletics, we're just twiddling our thumbs until Friday.

Hail to the Chief

In one of this year's season previews, I spoke to UB's success when Will Regan scores more than ten points. Will's had a tough year from a production standpoint, but has still been an emotional cornerstone of the team.

Last night, we got both. Everyone has remembered Regan's announcement into the postseason back in 2013: 36 points, 25 in the second half, on 5-7 shooting from distance. Everyone has remembered that it can happen again.

The senior took more shots last night, but every one of his career-high-tying five threes was huge. Add his customary sound defense, the kind you don't really notice unless you're watching for it, and eight boards, and it was the strongest game of the year for Will. More than anyone else on the floor, you could see in his face that he was not willing to lose this game.

Justin Moss is the MAC Player of the Year

Moss is one of just three players nationwide to lead his conference in both points and rebounds. Still, before yesterday, I understood and perhaps sympathized with those who touted Chris Fowler or Juice Brown, two productive guards on powerful MAC West teams.

No more. The Buffalo big man scored 19 points in just 21 minutes of foul-ridden play. There's some oxymoronic info in the play-by-play data, so I'm not sure just how many minutes he played with four fouls, but it was somewhere between four and seven. In that time, with the game winding down, he scored nine points and four rebounds. All with four fouls.

But that was how he played all game: Before the late run in the first half, Moss' nine points and three rebounds were the only thing going for UB. Unfortunately, they all came in only nine minutes, as he picked up his second foul very early in the half.

When Justin was on the floor, the game was entirely different. Still close, but entirely different. I hope voters for MAC POTY were watching.

Free Throws

"I'll stay quiet... you watch."
"He MISSED it!" Michael Reghi

The difference in this game. Somehow UB missed eight in the first half. But Bowling Green missed them when they counted. Look at just how far off that critical one-and-one was after Rodell's foul with eight seconds to go:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-conversation="none" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/SethDavisHoops">@SethDavisHoops</a> how about this student section for a MAC game last night? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Buffalo?src=hash">#Buffalo</a> <a href="http://t.co/KZZ8HJ2v51">pic.twitter.com/KZZ8HJ2v51</a></p>&mdash; Justin Bystrak (@justinbystrak) <a href="https://twitter.com/justinbystrak/status/574255000727207937">March 7, 2015</a></blockquote>

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This angle, from the right, even makes the shot look better than it was.

#operation6000

I don't need to write in paragraphs here.  The largest crowd in Alumni Arena in eleven years - nearly to the day (UB's first-ever MAC campus round win came over NIU came on 8 March in front of 8,971).

The third-largest crowd in the history of the Arena. The largest since renovation prior to the 2004-05 season. Word on Twitter was that Alumni hasn't been that loud in most people's memory. I'm desperately hoping for some unedited video that can give me an idea of how loud it was; while the crowd was noticeable throughout on the ESPN broadcast, the roars after made threes were quickly stifled by the sound mixer.

Texts from my parents

They both read here, obviously, so I hope they're not embarrassed, but it was great to get texts about the game from my parents who sit in 204. It's where our seasons have been since 2006-07, and when I'm out of town (more often than not), my mom gets to go in my place. Last night, I got some great updates.

Pregame:

I downloaded Vine just so I can do a 6 sec sweep of the arena at tip

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Cowbell <a href="https://twitter.com/UBBullRun">@UBBullRun</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UBvsBG?src=hash">#UBvsBG</a> <a href="https://t.co/nWbDzd7w0P">https://t.co/nWbDzd7w0P</a></p>&mdash; Mark Gritzmacher (@MRGritzmacher) <a href="https://twitter.com/MRGritzmacher/status/574014369979367424">March 7, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Early on, right before and through the late-first-half run:

Looks like BG has spent a lot of time working on three pointers

scary

Dad was jumping up and down on that one!!!!!!

In the second half:

Every single railing is full

Even in front of us

Postgame

I don't have it, but you need to track down pics of the team cutting down the net

Of course, if I do catch flack for including these, here's one that went in the other direction:

If we can't hiy a duckomg free throw.

I do not know why I got "duckomg" instead of the usual "ducking."

Bearden almost stole the show

You of course couldn't help but notice it in real time: the fast break and-one to put us up 43-42, a key three to tie the game at 46. Two clutch jumpers in the last two minutes, one of which came after he maintained the dribble through some tough defense. Until Moss finished the game with a rebound, a point, and a steal in the last 15 seconds, Lamonte was the lede for my game story.

On the rewatch, it is so apparent that Bearden has been in big games before, a multiple-time champion in Wisconsin. The dude just keeps his composure in the second half. If you decide to watch it again, keep an eye on him in the last 15 minutes.

For now, we rest and let the rest of the conference shake out. I'll have some quick thoughts on the MAC Tournament bracket tomorrow.

Go Bulls