After a disappointing loss to Western Michigan on the road, the Buffalo Bulls returned home to Alumni Arena to take on the Ball State Cardinals in the first home game in over a month where the students were back on campus. It was also Lamonte Bearden's first game back in the starting lineup and the Bulls prevailed over the Cardinals 76-64.
For much of the first half the shooting inside Alumni was as cold as the air outside. Buffalo held Ball State, the MAC's leading 3 point shooting team to just 1-10 from downtown in the first half and just 22 percent for the game. In a tight spot, down by 1 to the Cardinals and battling frontcourt foul trouble, the Bulls were sparked by a Jarryn Skeete 3 pointer to go on a 17-2 run over the next four minutes to build a 24-13 lead. However, Ikenna Smart got 2 quick fouls early in the half and picked up his 3rd late and Nick Perkins picked up back-to-back fouls to end the half leaving UB thin down low. This allowed Ball State to pull within 2 by halftime.
Buffalo would start out strong in the second half, rebuilding the lead to 10 points just outside of the U12, but foul trouble in the frontcourt reared it's ugly head as Perkins picked up his fourth foul just after the U12. This left UB playing Ikenna Smart with 3 and Perkins with 4 fouls for the remainder of the game.
The Bulls were able to pull away from Ball State late in the game in spite of the foul trouble by playing solid defense and getting it done on offense. Lamonte Bearden and Blake Hamilton led the way for the Bulls with 18 and 14 points while Hamilton led the way on the boards with 9. Willie Conner and Skeete chipped in 12 points apiece.
The Bulls will be on the road this weekend when they head to Toledo on Saturday to take on the Rockets at 7 PM.