Buffalo stunned by Ohio after last-second basket
Bulls lose back-to-back games for the first time this season
Nearly 23 years later, Buffalo head coach Bobby Hurley understands the agony of what his Duke Blue Devils did to Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA Tournament.
With 2.9 seconds left in the game, Ohio connected on a near full-length pass to the opposite three-point line. Bobcats forward Maurice Ndour faked the pass out to the perimeter and found an open lane to the basket with no Buffalo defenders in front of him.
With less than one second remaining in the game, he slammed it through to go up 63-61.
The men’s basketball team (12-6, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) was stunned by Ohio (7-10, 2-4 MAC) 63-61 on Saturday afternoon at the Convocation center in Athens, Ohio. The Bulls have now lost back-to-back games for the first time this season and have dropped to a .500 record (3-3) in the conference.
“We wanted to have someone on the ball to try and not allow it to be a clean pass,” Hurley said. “It’s always something coaches wrestle with, whether they put two guys back there with Ndour at that point. It didn’t work out. He’s a great player in our league and had a big game. He made the big play to win it.”
With 0.6 seconds left in the game and Buffalo down 63-61, sophomore guard Shannon Evans inbounded to Skeete but wasn’t able to connect on the desperation shot. Ndour – who connected on the game-winning basket – finished with 31 points on the afternoon.
In the same sequence, Ohio head coach Saul Phillips was running down the side of the court and then on o the court. The officials did not call a penalty. Hurley was not pleased with the Phillips' “unprofessionalism.”
“I was disappointed of the unprofessionalism of the Ohio coach and how far he was allowed to come on to the floor when there was still time on the clock,” Hurley said. “The referees didn’t do anything about it. There are rules in place for a reason.”
With less than a minute to play in the game, junior guard Jarryn Skeete rebounded his own missed field goal and hit a three-point shot to tie the game at 61. On the Bulls final possession of the game, Skeete missed a running lay up on the left side of the basket.
The Bobcats got the rebound and quickly called a timeout to set up the eventual game-winning basket.
One of the biggest reasons for the Buffalo loss was the Bulls’ abysmal shooting from inside the arc and even worse shooting from the perimeter. Buffalo shot 35.9 percent (23 of 64) from the field and 18.2 percent (4 of 22) from beyond the arc.
The Bulls found themselves in foul trouble for most of the second half. Senior forward Xavier Ford fouled out with 1:51 remaining in the half. He finished with 11 points and five rebounds.
Junior forward Justin Moss received his fourth foul with 4:40 left in the game. The Bobcats hit 13 of 16 free throws, including 11 in the second half.
Moss – who averages a conference-high 18.7 points per game – went 5 of 9 from the field for 11 points and seven rebounds. He also accumulated six turnovers in the off night for the defending MAC Player of the Week. Evans finished with 11 points and was 6 for 6 from the charity stripe.
Senior forward Will Regan finished with zero points, including 0 for 3 from the perimeter. He is currently averaging 6.4 points per game – second lowest among players on the team with 32 minutes or more played this season.
The two-game losing streak is the longest this season. The Bulls have also lost three of their last four on the road and now own a 6-6 record away from Alumni Arena. The team is still perfect at home.
“It’s life on the road in this conference,” Hurley said. “I believe in my team. It’s good for us to play games like this that are so competitive and close. It will only benefit us as the year goes on.
The Bulls return to Buffalo to take on Western Michigan (13-6, 4-2 MAC) on Tuesday, Jan. 27. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated. The previous version inccorectly had Ohio's head coach's name as "Jim Christian." It has been corrected.