Bulls end three-game losing streak, defeat Eastern Michigan 78-63
Buffalo shoots 53 percent from three and scores 40 second-half points in victory
Before Wednesday’s night’s game against Eastern Michigan, the Buffalo men’s basketball team had lost three straight games in which it had a second half lead against the top-3 teams in the Mid-American Conference
But Bulls (16-9, 7-6 MAC) held onto their second half lead against Eastern Michigan (16-10, 5-8 MAC) Wednesday night and snapped a three-game losing streak.
Buffalo defeated the Eagles 78-63 in Ypsilanti, Michigan – its first game against the Eagles since being bounced out of the MAC Tournament by Eastern Michigan in the quarterfinals last season. The Bulls shot 44.7 percent overall on the night, while holding Eastern Michigan to just 35.9 percent.
Head coach Bobby Hurley credited the defense for easing the pressure on the offensive end.
“[Our defense] was a big factor in what we were able to do,” Hurley said. “They’re one of the better defensive teams in the country and in our conference, and to score 78 shows what were capable of doing on the offensive end.”
In the first half, the Bulls went on a 12-0 run against the Eagles, creating three turnovers in the four-minute stretch and converting on both two and three-pointers. The Bulls got aggressive, drawing five free-throws during the run.
Buffalo’s defense held the Eagles to just 35 percent from the floor and 25 percent from three in the first half. The Bulls led 38-31 at halftime.
While the team was strong on defense, Buffalo also ran into foul trouble in the first half. Three of the five Bulls starters ended the game with four personal fouls, and senior forward Xavier Ford had a technical foul.
Due to the team’s foul trouble, the Buffalo bench saw extended playing time scored 24 points over the course of the game. The Eagles bench put up just four points.
Senior forward Will Regan finished off the night with 13 points – his highest point total since Jan. 7 – and grabbed three rebounds and dished out two assists in 19 minutes off the bench. Junior forward Rodell Wigginton played 30 minutes and finished with six points and four rebounds. Junior forward Raheem Johnson finished with five rebounds, three rebounds, and played solid interior defense in 11 minutes of action.
“Will [Regan] was very solid and did some very nice things,” Hurley said. “[The bench was] very productive and it sure takes pressure off our starters when they’re doing that.”
Buffalo stayed aggressive in the second half, despite the foul trouble, by attacking Eastern Michigan’s defense and getting to the free throw line.
The Bulls shot 44 of 59 from the charity stripe (65.9 percent) Wednesday. Regan sank eight of 11 attempts at the line. Junior forward Justin Moss finished with 10 free throw attempts for the game, converting on seven. Moss finished the game with 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting with nine rebounds.
Ford finished with 12 points and six rebounds. He also battled foul trouble for most of the game, which limited him to only 22 minutes on the court. Sophomore guard Shannon Evans finished with 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and four steals.
After the victory over Eastern Michigan, the Bulls travel to Stroh Center in
Bowling Green, Ohio to face the No.1 team in the MAC East, Bowling Green (17-7, 9-4 MAC). The game is set for Saturday at 2 p.m.