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Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball deliver gutsy performance to seal 66-54 win over Western Michigan

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Blue-collar is defined by Dictionary.com as:

of or relating to wage-earning workers who wear work clothes or other specialized clothing on the job, as mechanics, longshoremen, and miners.

Or to put it in other words, the hard worker grinding from sunrise to sundown to make a living.

To usher in the new year, Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball got together and selected a word they wanted their team to embody this year. Although Nate Oats said it hasn’t been done throughout the entirety of this year, the Bulls sure did a great job of being the epitome of “blue-collar” in their most recent game.

In the last few games the Bulls have been headed in the right direction and after a big road win at Kent State, they came back to Alumni ready to play Western Michigan. It wasn’t the flashiest or prettiest showing for UB, but it sure was gritty, and in the end it helped the Bulls reel in a significant 66-54 win.

Buffalo came out cold on offense and Western Michigan was ready to play with Thomas Wilder at the forefront. It looked like WMU was ready to put on a thrashing that Bulls fans have come to know every now and then whenever their favorite team was pitted up against the Broncos.

Things changed once UB held a 14-7 disadvantage. The Bulls clawed their way back into the game as Willie Conner and David Kadiri did an incredible job keeping UB in the game. Without those two holding the Bulls in striking distance, WMU could’ve held a 15 point lead at the half.

The Bulls found some transition game late in the first half and it was time for them to close the gap. Nick Perkins, CJ Massinburg, and Conner all found opportunities for quick points and turned the deficit that UB needed to overcome into just 6 points. In a low scoring defensive half, the Bulls went into the next twenty minutes trailing 33-28.

The defense from both teams only got more grueling in the second half. Shooting from beyond the arc quickly became ineffective for both teams and it lead to one of the most aggressive dog fights in the post for the rest of the game. Buffalo and Western Michigan stayed within a point or two of each other for the first eight minutes of the half, trading blow after blow in the paint.

With 12:39 left in the game, Buffalo soon began collapsing any shred of offense Western Michigan still had. Nick Perkins and David Kadiri each landed respective shots to bring the game to a 49-42 Bulls advantage.

A second round of trading defensive blows in the post ensued from there until only four minutes were left. It was then that the true demise of Western Michigan’s afternoon began. Needing the team to try something besides fighting through the interior, Blake Hamilton dished a pass to the right corner of the three point arc where Nick Perkins was ready to fire a shot.

Perkins sunk a three and the floodgates were opened.

Getting a defensive stop on WMU’s possession was followed by a CJ Massinburg three that gave the Bulls a 59-49 lead. Blake Hamilton then finished the game out by bringing in an excess of layups and free throws to close out the game. They had to grind to get there, but Buffalo got the win eventually.

Blake Hamilton and Nick Perkins were the stars of the night. Hamilton was just one rebound away from a triple-double performance. He jokingly blamed Perkins for stealing a rebound of his when commenting about his 15 point, 10 assist, 9 rebound night. Perkins finished with a dominant 21 point, 10 rebound double-double spectacle.

Buffalo heads out on an Ohio road trip where on Tuesday they’ll face Miami and Saturday will be a matchup with Akron. The Miami game will be at 7:00PM and will air on ESPN3.