Bulls Rise to Win Over Phoenix
GREEN BAY, WI – The University at Buffalo men's
basketball team earned their third straight win by defeating the
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, 71-65, at the Resch Center on
Tuesday evening. Senior Rodney Pierce scored a career-high 29
points in 37 minutes of action to lead the Bulls to victory in the
first-ever meeting between the teams.
The Bulls (6-3) opened the contest at the line, which would be a key factor in their victory. Buffalo shot an impressive 11-for-12 from the line with Pierce going 6-for-6.
Trailing by two at 16:35, senior John Boyer caused a Green Bay turnover, leading to a Pierce layup off a pass by Calvin Betts to tie the contest at 8-8.
In the remaining minutes, the Phoenix managed to hold the lead for the entire half. At one point, the Phoenix pushed their lead to a nine-point advantage with 4:58 remaining on the clock.
Chiseling away at Green Bay's lead, Boyer hit a three-pointer at 2:51 to pull the Bulls within two, 32-30. In the final 2:51 of the half, Pierce scored the Bulls' final seven points. With no time remaining, Pierce stroked a three-pointer from two feet behind the top of the arc to give UB a 37-35 lead heading into the break.
Through the first 11 minutes of the second half, the Bulls held the lead until the Phoenix tied the contest at 50-50 off a jumper by leading scorer Rahmon Fletcher. Green Bay would take the lead for the only time in the half with 8:20 remaining. Boyer would erase Green Bay's one-point lead with his second three-pointer off an assist by Betts.
In the final eight minutes of the half, the Bulls would continue to extend their lead. In a span of two minutes, sophomore Dave Barnett scored seven of his career-high nine points to give the Bulls a nine-point lead with 5:31 remaining.
In the final five minutes, the Phoenix pulled within two points of the Bulls' lead three times but were unable to tie the contest. The final five points of the second half would come at the free throw line, where the Bulls began the game. Perfect free throw shooting from Betts and Pierce in the final 18 seconds would seal the win for the Bulls.
"I thought we persevered through some difficulty with turnovers in the first and second half but we were strong with the basketball. We shot the ball well from the free throw line, making 11 of our 12 shots," said head coach Reggie Witherspoon. "We are learning to play together."
Three Green Bay players reached double digits as Fletcher led the Phoenix with 19 points and Bryquis Perine added 14 points. Troy Cotton ended the game with 12 points off four first-half three-pointers.
In a career-high 22 minutes, Barnett scored nine points. Betts finished with eight points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals in 35 minutes. Also playing 35 minutes, Boyer recorded nine points, six assists and five rebounds.
In just their second all-time trip to the state of Wisconsin, the Bulls remain undefeated at 2-0. The Bulls' first victory came on January 5, 1978 as they defeated the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 78-75.
The Bulls will return to action when they hit the road to compete in the University of Central Florida Holiday Classic in Orlando, Florida. Play will begin on Tuesday, December 29 against Jacksonville at 4:30 pm and conclude on Wednesday, December 30 when the Bulls play either host UCF or Liberty.