TERRA HAUTE, IN - Plagued by early fouls on many of the starters, the Buffalo Bulls men's basketball squad was unable to find a flow on offense, falling to Indiana State 58-54 Saturday afternoon at the Hulman Center. Zach Filzen led the team with 13 points.
The game began with the team's trading baskets and Buffalo led 11-9 with just under eleven minutes to play in the first half, but seniors Byron Mulkey and Jawaan Alston and junior Mitchell Watt each had already picked up two fouls. Indiana State was already in the bonus with over twelve minutes to play in the first half but made only three of eight free throw attempts in the half to keep the game close.
Junior Zach Filzen was able to penetrate to the interior for a number of easy looks and scored seven points to lead the Bulls into the half down only two, 23-21. Classmate Dave Barnett pitched in five points and three rebounds as well in the opening frame. A three-point play from freshman Javon McCrea and a layup from Cameron Downing helped bring Buffalo to within one, 20-19, late in the half and the Bulls went into the locker room with some momentum.
That momentum carried over as the Bulls went on an 8-2 run to open the second half. Indiana State relied on the deep ball to reclaim the lead though, hitting four three-point shots in under four minutes to go back up, 37-34 with under eleven minutes to play in the game. Watt converted a clutch three-point play to give the team its final lead of the game, a 42-39 lead with under ten minutes to play.
The Sycamores hit a three-point play of its own to tie and never trailed after that, keeping the Bulls at an arm's length for the rest of the game, never taking a lead more than seven the rest of the way. It was a dogfight throughout, with the teams exchanging leads nine times and the game all tied up ten different times.
Barnett and Mulkey each scored 11 points, and Mulkey chipped in seven assists with only one turnover for the game while making three steals. Barnett led the team in rebounds with six. On a bright note, the team as a whole had by far its best game of the season from the free-throw line, converting on 15 of 17 attempts, including 12 of 13 in the second half alone. Filzen and Mulkey each were a perfect 4-4 and McCrea was 4-5.
It will be a quick turnaround for Buffalo, as it is now off to West Point for a Wednesday evening meeting with Army, with the team hoping to even its road record at 2-2. Tipoff is set for 7 pm.