Bulls Use Team Effort to Knock Off First-Place Akron
BUFFALO, NY – A total team effort led the University at Buffalo men's basketball team to an 82-70 win over first-place Akron at Alumni Arena on Wednesday night. Four Bulls scored in double-figures and all ten UB players that played in the game scored and grabbed a rebound. The win evened Buffalo's record at 2-2 in Mid-American Conference play and improved the Bulls to 9-6 overall.
Zach Filzen shook off his recent scoring woes to drop 21 points, including five three-pointers. Javon McCrea added 15 points and seven rebounds. Mitchell Watt finished with 11 points and a season-high five blocked shots.
Jarod Oldham had the finest game of his young career with 11 points and seven rebounds, both career highs. The sophomore point guard added nine assists, a block and three steals.
Titus Robinson scored and got fouled with 8:40 left in the first half. His free throw gave the Bulls the lead for good, 23-22. Late in the first stanza, the Bulls got a spark from Cameron Downing. The sophomore center scored on three straight possessions and finished the half with seven points in just three minutes of action. Buffalo led 40-32 at the half.
Akron (11-7, 3-1 MAC) bounced back and opened the second half on a 9-3 scoring run to cut the UB lead to 43-41. But the Bulls responded with an 18-6 run of their own to extend their lead to 61-47 with 9:15 remaining. Buffalo used the three-point shot to their advantage as Oldham, Filzen and Tony Watson each knocked down triples during the run.
Akron whittled away the Buffalo lead to 72-69 with 1:35 remaining. However, Filzen's fifth three-pointer of the game, with 1:16 left, extended the UB advantage to 75-69 and a pair of good defensive stops sealed the win for Buffalo.
The Bulls outrebounded Akron, 37-36. McCrea and Oldham shared team-high honors with seven apiece. Defensively, Buffalo had eight blocked shots, seven steals and forced 18 Akron turnovers.
"I thought it was a total team effort," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "It might look obvious, because everybody scored that played. But I think we got great energy from everybody that played and it just so happened that they scored."
The Bulls will next hit the road for a game at Bowling Green on Saturday.