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Bulls drop matchup with #10 Creighton despite challenging the Bluejays early

NCAA Basketball: Buffalo at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

After a so-so showing at the Great Alaska Shootout, the Buffalo Bulls took on the #10 Creighton Bluejays. Buffalo gave the Bluejays a fight thanks to the dominance of Blake Hamilton, but in the end the Bulls couldn’t keep up. Turning the ball over 21 times, Buffalo lost 93-72

When the game began, it looked like Buffalo was going to be destroyed. The Bulls immediately gave up ugly turnovers and started fouling right out of the gate, but they stayed right in the hunt due to some of the best defense we’ve seen from Buffalo in years.

Despite the awful turnover margin, Buffalo did everything else they needed to do. In combination with stellar defense, the Bulls also shot the ball well at 54%. To help their chances they were also destroying the Bluejays on the boards. Buffalo out-rebounded Creighton 22-13 in the first half.

Then there was Blake Hamilton.

Hamilton’s electric performance in the first half brought 15 points to the table. Creighton simply couldn’t find an answer for the 6-6 wing as he sliced and diced along with lights out shooting from beyond the arc. With the leadership of Hamilton, Buffalo somehow found a way to scrape together a a mere 41-39 deficit entering halftime.

Unfortunately a trend that hasn’t favored Buffalo continued tonight. For the past three years, UB has been able to challenge a ranked opponent in non-conference play. But, a strong first half has lead to a second half collapse.

Creighton’s halftime adjustments were impeccable. The Bluejays fired away from beyond the arc and drove into the lane with ease. Buffalo continued to have the same problems and ultimately finished with 22 fouls on top of their turnover problems. There was no stopping the Bluejays once they realized that UB’s only real offensive threats were Blake Hamilton and Willie Conner.

Hamilton and Conner finished the night with 21 points and 3 rebounds each. Raheem Johnson was also a threat all night with his 14 points and 7 rebounds.

Buffalo will finally return home after an 8,000 mile road trip. The Bulls will look to improve before Saturday’s matchup at St. Bonaventure. Tip-off will be at 4:00 PM and the game will be broadcasted on Time Warner SportsChannel.