Buffalo Edged Out By Ball State in Battle of Division Leaders
MUNCIE, IN – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team had its six-game winning streak snapped at Ball State, losing to the Cardinals, 72-71, at Worthen Arena on Saturday afternoon. There were 15 lead changes and four ties in a game between the Mid-American Conference's two division leaders.
Zach Filzen led the Bulls with a career-high 26 points, including four three-pointers. The junior guard added a career-best five steals. Titus Robinson matched a career best with 16 points and added five rebounds.
Turnovers and foul trouble plagued the Bulls early on as they had 10 turnovers and committed 11 fouls in the first half. The Cardinals came out of the gates shooting the ball well and built a nine-point lead with 7:41 remaining in the first half. Trailing by eight with 4:05 left in the half, UB's shooters started to heat up. Filzen, Tony Watson II and Filzen again drained three-pointers on three straight Buffalo possessions to put the Bulls ahead, 33-32, with 2:37 left in the half. Ball State's Tyrae Robinson hit a driving layup with less than a second remaining to give the Cardinals a 38-37 lead at the break.
Buffalo (14-7, 6-3 MAC) came out in the second half on a 5-0 scoring run and when Robinson dunked home a missed jumper and was fouled, his free throw put the Bulls up, 42-38. It would be UB's largest lead. Neither team led by more than four points in the second half.
Filzen hit a jumper in the paint to put the Bulls up, 66-63, with 5:12 left. But a quick 7-0 scoring run by the Cardinals was the difference in the game. Suddenly, Ball State led, 70-66, with 3:59 left.
Trailing 72-68 with 1:58 left, the Bulls played good defense down the stretch to give themselves a chance. A running jumper by Filzen cut the lead to 72-70 and a Jawaan Alston free throw pulled the Bulls to within one with 43 seconds left. Buffalo was able to force a turnover on Ball State's next possession, giving the Bulls the ball with seven seconds left. However, Byron Mulkey's off-balanced three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
Both teams shot the ball well from the field. Buffalo shot 54.2 percent and Ball State made 53.5 percent of their shots. Rebounds were even at 23 apiece.
Ball State shot 8-of-15 from beyond the arc, led by Jauwan Scaife's career-high six treys.
It was just the third conference loss for the Bulls with all three losses coming by a combined seven points.
The Bulls will return home to host Central Michigan on Tuesday night at Alumni Arena.