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UB Bulls back to .500 in MAC after blowout loss to Western Michigan

Defense and fouls Broncos stop Buffalo winning streak

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After coming off back-to-back double-digit victories, it was probably a surprise for the men’s basketball team to find itself down 18 points at halftime against Western Michigan, one of the lower-seeded teams in the Mid-American Conference.

The Bulls (10-9, 3-3 MAC) would not recover from that not-so-welcome surprise either, as they saw their two-game winning streak snapped with a 91-71 loss to Western Michigan (8-11, 2-4 MAC) Saturday. The 91 points are the most Buffalo has allowed so far in conference play.

Heading into the matchup, Buffalo’s defense was ranked 10th in the MAC, allowing 73.7 points per game. And in the first half, the Broncos exploited Buffalo’s defense by scoring 48 points and hitting nine of their 15 three-point attempts.

Junior wing Blake Hamilton, coming off a 22-point performance against Miami Ohio (6-13, 0-6 MAC) on Tuesday, was Buffalo’s biggest threat in the first half, as he finished with 11 points and four rebounds on 3-of-5 shooting. But the Broncos would shut down Hamilton in the second half to hold him scoreless.

The Bulls also had issues with fouls. Buffalo had 22 fouls on the night, as freshman forward Nick Perkins fouled out in 21 minutes and three starters finished with three fouls a piece.

The fouls forced head coach Nate Oats to shuffle players in and out as the Bulls made a failed comeback attempt in the second half. The Broncos extended the lead to as high as 21 points with eight minutes to go, thus ending any chance of a Buffalo comeback.

Junior wing Willie Conner led the Bulls with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, while Perkins had 13 points and four rebounds. Sophomore guard Lamonte Bearden made his return to the lineup after sitting out two games with a foot injury. He came off the bench to play 22 minutes and score six points.

Western Michigan’s big three of guard Bryce Moore, Thomas Wilder and forward Tucker Haymond combined for 62 of Western Michigan’s 91 points.

The Bulls will return home Alumni Arena on Tuesday to face Ball State (13-6, 4-2 MAC). Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Quentin Haynes is the co-senior sports editor and can be reached at quentin.haynes@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @HaynesTheWriter.


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