Coming off of a bad loss to Canisius in the Big 4 Classic, UB found themselves in another jam with a lesser opponent. Robert Morris came into the game 3-9 overall with wins against mediocre opponents and held a lead over the Bulls for much of the game. UB would fight back but in the end they would fall for the second time in a row 74-71.
UB started the game off as if they were still hungover from the loss to Canisius. The Colonials’ defense quickly phased the Bulls to the point where there was relatively no scoring to begin the game. Six minutes into the game, Robert Morris had a small 7-6 lead as UB could only find two shots from beyond the arc through CJ Massinburg and Willie Conner.
On top of the offensive struggles, the problem of the season returned for Buffalo. The Bulls had 12 turnovers in the first half, allowing Robert Morris to bring 7 more points to the table. Buffalo also struggled in terms of fouls as it wasn’t long until they were in the double bonus.
UB continued to be sluggish on both ends of the ball and Robert Morris eventually had a 37-25 lead. Without Blake Hamilton, Buffalo would have a tough deficit to push through in the second half. Hamilton quickly brought two layups and a free throw in before the half to pull the game to a 7 point deficit.
UB needed some serious adjusting if they were going to bring themselves out of the deficit and into the lead. The Bulls did just that to open up the second half as the defensive energy dominated the Colonials. Capitalizing on their defense, UB went on a 9-3 run as Massinburg, Conner, Hamilton, and Perkins brought a balanced scoring attack.
Despite finding an easy path back into the game, Buffalo still had trouble with turnovers and Robert Morris stayed within striking distance for the rest of the game. With five minutes left in the game, the Colonials took a 60-59 lead on a pair of free throws from a questionable foul on Willie Conner.
Free throw shooting became a trend as the refs had a hard time watching the entire floor being down a man. CJ Massinburg would quickly convert an and-one opportunity followed by an empty trip by Robert Morris. Keeping it close until the final minute, Buffalo collapsed. Being in the double bonus once again, the Bulls committed two costly fouls and turned the ball over to give Robert Morris the upper edge with the clock ticking down.
UB would turnover an RMU inbounds pass and Blake Hamilton would sink a three pointer to put UB down by a single point. Eventually it wouldn’t be enough as Buffalo fell 74-71 to a team that hadn’t beaten an opponent with a KenPom rating better than 276.
Blake Hamilton lead the Bulls with an inspiring effort as he refused to let this game go. Although it wasn’t enough, he brought in 24 points. CJ Massinburg also had a good night scoring the ball as he brought in 13. Finally, Nick Perkins another double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bulls are back in action on December 30 when they play Maine. Tip-off will be at 7:00PM and the game will air on ESPN3.