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#25 Buffalo Men’s Basketball pulls away from Southern Illinois, 62-53

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NCAA Basketball: Buffalo at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

It was a day of celebration for Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball. After receiving their first AP ranking in history (They’re No. 25 if you’re living under a rock), the Bulls took a 62-53 victory over Southern Illinois on Monday night at SIU Arena.

For the third straight game, Buffalo struggled to get going on offense, as the the three-ball wouldn’t fall. UB was just 3-15 from three in the first half.

In what continues to be a trend, the Bulls clawed back into the game after trailing for much of the half with gritty defense and more looks down low. Even though the game was playing into SIU’s hands, the Buffalo still eked out a 31-27 advantage after 20 minutes.

The second half was much better for the Bulls, although three-point shots still had trouble falling in the early going. SIU looked gassed as the half went on and their defense became sluggish. UB’s offense is one of the fastest in the country and will easily run players to the ground if they aren’t conditioned enough.

Montell McRae was the surprise leader for the Bulls in scoring. The 6-10 forward brought in 11 markers on perfect 4-4 shooting, which included two swishes from deep. Jeremy Harris also had 11 points to round out Bulls in double figures.

Davonta Jordan was a catalyst for UB tonight. Three buckets from beyond the arc gave him nine points along with five dimes. His defensive effort was smothering and a big reason why the Bulls were able to shut down the Salukis’ offense.

Buffalo takes a much needed break after a wild week. They’re back in action next Wednesday when they face Dartmouth in Alumni Arena. That’s a 7:00 p.m. contest with coverage on ESPN+