BUFFALO, NY – Four players scored in double-figures to help lead the University at Buffalo men's basketball team to a 72-65 season-opening win over Saint Peter's at Alumni Arena on Friday night.
Javon McCrea, making his first career start, led the way with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He added six rebounds and four assists. Dave Barnett added 13 points and six rebounds and Mitchell Watt had 12 points and four blocked shots. Zach Filzen had 11 points, including three three-pointers.
Buffalo only trailed once in the game, 3-2, before Watt's dunk put the Bulls ahead for good, 4-3. Buffalo used an 8-0 scoring run to increase a 19-17 lead to 27-17 with 5:14 left in the first half. The Bulls led 36-24 at the break.
Filzen hit back-to-back three-pointers to extend the Buffalo lead to 50-34 with 13:29 remaining. Corey Raley-Ross hit a diving layup on the Bulls' next possession to put the UB up 18 – their largest lead of the game.
Saint Peter's made a late run and cut the UB lead to 63-57 with 1:16 left. The Peacocks whittled the lead to four with 53 seconds left, but the Bulls made their free throws down the stretch to hold them off.
"I thought it was a good test for us tonight," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "Saint Peter's played really hard. Our guys persevered through the ups and downs of this adrenaline rush that I think we had with it being the first game and wanting to be entertainers at times."
Jarod Oldham answered a lot of questions with his play at point guard. The sophomore first-year starter finished with eight points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Buffalo will remain at home and host Cornell at Alumni Arena on Wednesday night.