Bulls Edged by Chippewas, 88-82
MT. PLEASANT, MI - In a cross divisional matchup riddled by 50
combined personal fouls, the University at Buffalo men's
basketball team fell to Central Michigan at the Rose Center on
Thursday evening, 88-82.
Rodney Pierce The Bulls (11-9, 4-5 MAC) came out in the first half, playing an aggressive man-to-man defense, which kept the Chippewas (11-9, 6-2 MAC) in check to start the contest. In the first 12 minutes, the Bulls built a seven-point lead off a combination of costly turnovers and fouls by Central Michigan despite only shooting 35.7 percent from the floor.
The tide quickly changed in favor of the Chippewas following the game's third media timeout at 7:51. Facing a seven-point deficit with just under eight minutes remaining, the Chippewas' Robbie Harman assisted on an Antonio Weary dunk to start Central Michigan's comeback. Harman followed up with a three-point bucket to pull the Chippewas within two, which brought the home crowd to its feet.
The Chippewas managed to score their next 11 points from the free throw line. Off a trio of successful free throws, Central Michigan captured a one-point lead, 27-26. Senior Rodney Pierce managed to restore the Bulls lead with 5:11 remaining from the free throw line with a pair of successful shots. The Chippewas would return to the free throw line to connect on eight free throws to remain in the lead for the time remaining in the first half. Heading into the break, Central Michigan led 41-37.
The Chippewas took the momentum of their first-half lead right throw the second half, not allowing the Bulls to recapture the lead. Early in the second half, Buffalo pulled within one off a layup by sophomore Titus Robinson but Harman hit a three to give the Chippewas extra cushion.
Despite the Bulls' effort to chisel away at Central Michigan's lead throughout the second half, the Chippewas countered Buffalo's offensive attack with one of their own.
Scoring 22 points, Pierce led the Bulls' scoring attack for the 13th time this season. Pierce also added a career-high seven assists to record his 205th career assist. Senior Calvin Betts added 15 points to the Bulls' total, including a team-high eight rebounds. Robinson and Pierce went a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line. In the closing minute of the contest, Betts and Pierce would each foul out.
Jordan Bitzer led the Chippewas with 22 points and eight rebounds for the Chippewas. Bitzer managed to go 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Harman scored 19 points, including four treys.
Combining for 50 personal fouls, each team ran into foul troubles in the contest. Buffalo recorded a season-high 27 personal fouls. Central Michigan committed 23 personal fouls.
The Bulls remain on the road as they travel to conference opponent Toledo on Saturday, February 6 with the tipoff at 7:00 pm.