For this first ten minutes of yesterdays game between Buffalo and Ball State it looked to be a repeat of the first game of the season, a drastic blowout in favor of the cardinals.
UB could not hit a shot to save their lives and had twice been down 10 points. About the only thing going well for Buffalo eleven minutes into the first half was Josh Mballa’s ability to draw fouls and hist uncharacteristically sold night at the free throw line.
MBalla who normally shoots in the mid fifty percent range hit three of his first four while the Bulls were missing shots from all over the floor. That and some solid defense was the only thing that prevented Ball State from running away with the game in the early minutes.
But eventually the Bulls found their shot and started to close the gap, the half closed with Gabe Grant draining a pair of free throws to tie the game. Just nine minutes prior Ball State had Buffalo figured out.
The second half opened with a lot of back and forth between the teams, with nobody getting out ahead by too much before the other team reeled them in to bring the score to within one.
Nine minutes in Antwain Johnson made a three point jumper that put the Bulls up for good. A Josh MBalla Duck a few possessions later kicked off a Buffalo surge that coincided with a three minute drought for Ball State.
By the time the cards found their footing they went from down three to down eight, and they were never able to close in afterwards.
Mballa scored 16 points, and pulled down 15 rebounds. Jayvon Graves also got in on the double-double action scoring 16 with 10 rebounds. Jeenathan Williams scored 16 points, Antwain Johnson had 12 and Davonta Jordan came close to a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds.
It was a much needed win for possible MAC tournament seeding. With the win, and a Kent State loss at EMU, the Bulls sit along at the four seed with five games to go. Buffalo can pad their lead this Friday when they head to Kent State, who won the first meeting of the year.