Buffalo Drops Home Finale to Ohio, 72-69
BUFFALO, NY – For the first time since 2001, the University at Buffalo men's basketball team lost on "Senior Night," falling to Ohio, 72-69, at Alumni Arena on Tuesday night.
Buffalo (12-18, 7-8 MAC) rallied from a nine-point deficit with nine minutes left. An 18-3 scoring run put the Bulls ahead, 69-63, but the Bobcats outscored the Bulls, 9-0, down the stretch to pull out the victory.
The Bulls dominated the play inside, scoring 42 points in the paint and outrebounding Ohio, 43-22. But turnovers did in the Bulls as the Bobcats were able to turn UB's 19 turnovers into 27 points. Buffalo struggled with Ohio's press all night, leading to some easy Bobcat baskets in transition.
"We did a great job on the boards, but we didn't do a great job taking care of the basketball," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "We turned it over in spurts and I think it helped them stay in the game enough to get the outcome they wanted. And I think just experience of closing out a game in this situation were the deciding factors."
Will Regan led UB with 20 points, his best effort in MAC play. The sophomore forward matched a career high with eight rebounds. Javon McCrea had 19 points, five rebounds and tied season high with five assists. The junior forward passed Louis Campbell for seventh in school history with 1,393 points.
Tony Watson, playing in the final regular season home game of his career, notched his first career double-double with 11 points and a career-best 11 rebounds.
Buffalo got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 12-2 lead on the Bobcats. The Bulls held a 19-9 lead before Ohio responded with a 15-4 scoring run to take a 24-23 lead. The Bobcats built their lead to as many as seven before settling for a five-point advantage at the break.
Trailing, 60-51, with 9:00 left, Buffalo held Ohio without a point for nearly four minutes to climb back into the game. A Regan layup, followed by a McCrea layup put the Bulls ahead by six.
With the Bulls leading, 69-63, and 3:23 on the clock, Ohio clamped down on defense. The Bobcats kept the Bulls off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game. D.J. Cooper gave Ohio a 70-69 lead with 1:34 left when he drained a long three-pointer. The Bulls had a couple of chances at the end, but tough Ohio defense prevented the Bulls from getting a good look.
Cooper led Ohio (22-8, 13-2 MAC) with 24 points. Ivo Baltic added 12 points for the Bobcats.
Buffalo will close out the regular season at Bowling Green on Friday night.