"Hardwood Report Card: Bulls beat Ball State, fall to Akron"
The men’s basketball team (15-7, 6-4 Mid-American Conference) went 1-1 this week with a victory over Ball State (7-14, 2-8 MAC) 82-78 and a loss against MAC East leader Akron (16-7, 7-3 MAC) 75-72.
Three-point shooting: C-
The Bulls had a rough week shooting from behind the arc. The team shot 31 percent from three-point range on Wednesday and 23 percent on Saturday.
On Saturday, the Bulls went 1 of 7 from the perimeter in the first half. The poor shooting from far range carried over to the second half, where the team only shot 3 of 10. With less than 10 seconds remaining in Saturday’s game, freshman guard Lamonte Bearden and junior guard Jarryn Skeete missed potential game-tying 3-pointers, resulting in a three point loss.
Foul shooting: B+
The team went 35 of 45 (77 percent) from the free-throw line in the two matchups this past week. Junior forward Justin Moss and sophomore guard Shannon Evans led the team with eight and 10 free-throws made, respectively. The team successfully converted 10 of 12 free-throws against Ball State en route to a 10-point halftime lead.
The team shot 12 of 14 from the line against Akron, but only made it to the charity stripe five times in the second half.
The Bulls grabbed 68 rebounds this week, but were unable to out-rebound their opponent in either game.
On Wednesday the Bulls were out-rebounded 37 to 35 against Ball State. Moss led the team with nine rebounds, seven of which were defensive. Senior forward Xavier Ford recorded his first double-double of the season, tallying 10 rebounds to go along with 22 points.
Ball Control: C+
The Bulls had a total of 23 turnovers this week, but Bearden registered eight of them. The team turned the ball over 12 times against Ball State, four coming from the freshman guard. The Bulls, however, were able to force 16 turnovers against the Cardinals, resulting in 21 converted points.
The Bulls were only able to force nine turnovers against Akron, resulting in 12 points. The team also turned the ball over 11 times. Bearden turned the ball over twice in less than two seconds in the beginning of the second half, resulting in a quick two points for the Zips.
Overall Offense: B
Despite going 1-1 in conference play, the Bulls put up their fourth-largest scoring total of the season against Ball State. Buffalo put up 82 points against the Cardinals, including a game-high 25 points from Evans, and 17 points from Moss. The team was also efficient, shooting over 45 percent from the field.
Four Bulls scored in double-digits on Saturday despite the loss at Akron. Ford led the team with 22 points on 9 of 17 shooting. The team shot nearly 46 percent from the field, but missed all three shots in the last 20 seconds of the game.
The Bulls accumulated seven blocks and 16 steals over the weekend. The Bulls allowed 78 points to Ball State and 75 points to Akron.
The Bulls went on a 23-9 run over 10 minutes to end the first half against Ball State, but the team gave up 48 points in the second half to make it a close game. Buffalo also allowed Akron to shoot 50 percent (14 of 28) from the field for 48 first-half points.
Bench Production: D
The Bulls bench scored 24 points this week, but scored 22 of them against the Cardinals. Junior guard Rodell Wigginton, junior forward Raheem Johnson and senior forward Will Regan scored 22 points on 9 of 14 combined shooting in the win.
The trio produced only two points against the Zips, shooting only 1 of 8 from the floor. Johnson only played for nine minutes in the game due to early foul trouble.
Regan has averaged roughly three points per game since being replaced by Ford in the starting lineup against Western Michigan on Jan. 27.
Head coach Bobby Hurley did an admirable job coaching against Ball State, despite having two starters foul out of the game. Hurley successfully ran the eight-man rotation, having all rotation players play at least 15 minutes. All role players scored at least five points.
At the end of Wednesday’s game, the Bulls held a 79-71 lead with less than 40 seconds to play, but the Cardinals made it a two-point game with less than 10 seconds to go.
In the last minute of the Akron game, the team had three separate chances to tie the game, but came out unsuccessful all three times.