It was quite a battle between two NET Top 50 teams, but Princeton (NET 40) defeated Buffalo (NET 43) in overtime 79–77. Buffalo is now 6–3 on the season.
Buffalo’s super-senior forward Summer Hemphill sent the game into overtime by connecting on two free throws with 1 second left in the fourth quarter to make the score 66–66. Hemphill had been fouled taking a shot after catching a throw-in from underneath the Buffalo basket. Just before that, Princeton had made one of two free-throws with 2.5 seconds left to take the lead. Bulls coach Felisha Legette-Jack called timeout, allowing Buffalo to have a throw-in from their front court, but a lob pass to Hemphill was knocked out of bounds by the Tigers, leading to a throw-in and Hemphill’s free throws.
But the overtime started ominously for the Bulls. Sophomore guard Cheyenne McEvans jumped center, and was contacted by the Princeton player during the jump ball, but no foul was called. Legette-Jack objected, was given a quick technical foul five seconds into the overtime, and Princeton took an early lead in the overtime making one of the two free-throws. And after that, the Bulls never took the lead, or even tied the score, during the overtime period.
The Bulls had plenty of missed opportunities to score in the overtime, shooting just 2-for-6 from the free-throw line, three of those misses by junior guard Dyaisha Fair. Buffalo also committed two turnovers in the last 14 seconds, having a pass deflected by Princeton, and a traveling violation by junior guard Dominique Camp with 8 seconds left.
Princeton opened an 18 point lead early in the second quarter, at 28–10 with 7:08 left in the quarter. But later in the period, Buffalo went on a 19–0 run to take a four point lead, using six points from freshman guard Georgia Woolley and 11 from Fair, who was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc in that stretch.
The game would ebb and flow, with the lead changing hands several time, leading to a nail-biter fourth quarter, where the Bulls just barely managed to send the game into overtime.
Buffalo failed to get their front line involved in the offense during the entire game, with Hemphill taking just two shot attempts, while senior forward Ade Adeyeye took just one shot and junior forward Loren Christie taking only two shots. In fact, those three barely touched the ball on offense. To be fair to Hemphill, she was fouled on several shot attempts, which don’t appear in the box score as shots attempted, but even with that adjustment, Hemphill took five shot attempts in 45 minutes of playing time. Buffalo’s guards (Fair, Woolley, McEvans) took up the slack, but it still was a less diverse offense than we usually see from the Bulls.
Fair led all scorers with 31 points, but 11-for-30 shooting, including 5-for-12 from downtown. She started the game shooting 1-for-10, but then was hot the rest of the game. McEvans had 16 points, Woolley had 14 and Hemphill had 12. Fair and McEvans led the Bulls in rebounding with 7, while Adeyeye and Woolley each had 6.
Buffalo next plays at Bucknell on Monday, December 20 at 5pm (ESPN+).
- Fair also played all 45 minutes.
- One has to wonder if Hemphill was fatigued or playing with some injury. She had only 4 rebounds while playing the entire game despite Princeton not being a tall team, and generally was unable to find space to be a part of the offense.
- For the game, Buffalo was a mediocre 19-for-29 from the free-throw line. Princeton was slightly better at 16-for-24.
- Princeton was relatively successful from the three-point line, making 41% of their shots. Buffalo wasn’t far behind shooting 36.4% on three-pointers.