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Buffalo loses their Conference Opener

Buffalo v Northern Illinois Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

If I never see Eugene German again, it will be too soon.

The NIU star has been pretty much the only person in the MAC that has consistently given UB trouble since Bobby Hurley took over from Reggie Witherspoon and yesterday was no exception.

German dropped 26 points on Buffalo but the real story is that he got to 15 by the middle of the first half, and that forced Buffalo to focus so much on him that his teammates started to pick Buffalo apart.

Most notably it Lacey James added 18 points with 13 rebounds for Northern Illinois as was key down the stretch as UB tried a miracle rally.

The game was a back and forth battle until there were six minutes left in the first half, and the score was tied 28 all. Then NIU surged on a 13-4 run to end the half. UB didn’t really recover until the last five minutes of the game.

A few times in the second half the Bulls would pull to within ten, but every time NIU got the better of UB’s defense, surging further ahead. Down 11 points with 6:27 left in the half UB’s defense started to up the pressure on NIU and the Bulls began getting those transition points that they needed.

In that last six minutes NIU would only score eight points, but that was just enough to fend off Buffalo. Jayvon Graves hit two free throws that put the Bulls ahead 72-71 with 33.5 seconds on the clock. The Bulls forced five turnovers during a 9-0 late-game run but UB just could not close the out the game.

NIU’s Trenton Hankerson made two free throws which put the huskies back on top 73-72 with 20 seconds left. UB had time but rushed the next possession, Davonta Jordan drove quickly and missed a jumper with three seconds left, Buffalo fouled NIU after the rebound.

Noah McCarty missed both free throws allowing a desperation three quarter court heave at the end which hit the front of the rim, giving NIU their first win at Buffalo in 15 years.

Buffalo now goes on the road for two games against Ball State on Tuesday and Miami on Friday.