It's been a rough couple of games for the Buffalo Bulls men's basketball team. The Bulls are coming off a very tough loss to the Miami Redhawks and needed to start gaining some momentum before the MAC tournament started. Bowling Green was the final opponent on the MAC slate for the regular season. UB really needed a win in this one or else their hopes of a bye in the MAC tournament were done. The game was heavily contested for the entire second half and Buffalo emerged victorious in an 87-83 win.
The first two and a half minutes of play from the Bulls were sloppy. It really looked like it was going to be a long night until Willie Conner started the game off with a three pointer. All it took was just over four minutes for the junior college transfer from Odessa to rack up 8 points and get the offense flowing. Despite opening things up to a 14-6 advantage, the Falcons soon went on a mini-run thanks to bring it to within four points thanks to JD Tisdale. Next, it was CJ "Buckets" Massinburg's turn to heat up as the freshman scored seven in a very quick timeframe. The Dallas native was subbed out because Lamonte Bearden and Blake Hamilton were dinged with two fouls a piece early. The fouls continued to pile on throughout the lineup as Bowling Green climbed back into a two point deficit. Buffalo would end the half leading the Falcons 41-37
The opening of the second half quickly showed that this would be a closely contested game. Five minutes in the score would be knotted up at 48 a piece thanks to a Blake Hamilton three point jumper. Neither team was able to get away from the other as with three minutes to go, the Falcons lead 80-77. A Spencer Parker two point jumper eventually took the game to 83-82 Bowling Green advantage with 48 seconds left in regulation. Luckily for the Bulls, Lamonte Bearden was fouled late while driving to the basket. Bearden would hit both of his free throws and Buffalo never looked back.
Buffalo was lead by the duo of Blake Hamilton and Lamonte Bearden. Both players finished the night with 20 points and most notably was Hamilton's 70% shooting from the field. Willie Conner also had a big night securing 15 points and a couple boards.
With the win, the Bulls move to 10-8 in MAC play and enter the MAC tournament with an #3 seed. Their next game will be on Thursday, March 10th as their seeding qualifies them for a quarterfinals bye. Tip-off is set for 30 minutes following the 6:30 PM game on Thursday. The game will also air on ESPN3.