BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's basketball rallied from nine points down midway through the second half to beat Bowling Green, 68-64, on Senior Night at Alumni Arena Saturday night. With the win, the Bulls earned the second seed and an automatic spot in the semifinals of the upcoming FirstEnergy Mid-American Conference Tournament.
"What a game," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "There were so many times in the game when it looked like something was going to happen and the other thing happened. I thought our guys did a great job of persevering through some adversity and I thought [Bowling Green] did as well."
Buffalo (19-9, 12-4 MAC) trailed for most of the first half and was behind 31-30 at the break. Bowling Green built its lead to 53-44 with 9:04 remaining and hopes for a second seed in the MAC Tournament looked grim. However, the Bulls responded with a 16-2 scoring run and a Javon McCrea layup gave the Bulls a 60-55 lead, their largest of the game.
The Falcons didn't go away quietly and went on a 9-1 scoring run of their own to regain a 64-61 lead with 1:34 left. Watt hit back-to-back jumpers to put the Bulls ahead, 65-64, with 35 seconds left. On his second jumper, the senior forward was fouled. He missed the free throw, but fellow senior Dave Barnett swooped in for the rebound and got the ball to Jarod Oldham. Oldham was fouled and made one free throw to give the Bulls a 66-64 lead with 30 seconds left.
Bowling Green had a couple cracks at tying the game, but Titus Robinson finally grabbed the rebound and was fouled with three seconds remaining. He calmly made both free throws to seal the win for UB.
Robinson was one of four seniors playing in the final home games of their careers and all four played key roles in the comeback. Robinson scored six of his eight points in the second half. Zach Filzen knocked down three three-pointers to finish with nine points. Barnett had eight points, six rebounds and three assists.
But the night belonged to Watt. After shrugging of a sluggish start, Watt scored 11 of the Bulls' final 22 points, shooting a perfect 4-for-4 from the field down the stretch. His free throw with 2:05 remaining made him the 17th player in school history to score 1,000 career points.
Buffalo shot 65 percent from the field in the second half, marking the third straight game the Bulls shot 63 percent or better in the second half.
Buffalo has earned its highest ever seed in the MAC Tournament and will play a semifinal contest on Friday night at 9:30 pm.