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UB Bulls blown out at home by Ohio 94-75

Buffalo loses second consecutive conference game after four-game win streak

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Many skeptics said sophomore guard Lamonte Bearden would be the missing key to the Bulls offense.

They were right.

On Friday night, the Bulls (14-11, 7-5 Mid-American Conference) produced one of their worst shooting displays all season, losing their second consecutive conference game to Ohio (16-8, 7-5 MAC) at Alumni Arena. The Bulls shot 43 percent overall and 28 percent behind the arc and are now in a three-way tie for second place in the MAC East with the Bobcats and Kent State (7-5).

It’s possible that could change barring the Golden Flashes’ Saturday matchup against Eastern Michigan.

“That was embarrassing, we didn’t come out ready to play, we’re down some numbers and our guys are a little banged up,” said head coach Nate Oats. “It was a character game, we had some guys that I think played hard [until] the end.”

Oats said the Bulls’ loss to Toledo may have given the team a “hangover effect” as they prepared to face the Bobcats. The Bulls were riding a four-game win streak heading into their matchup against the Rockets. It was Toledo’s second-half surge and lay up in the final seconds of this past Tuesday’s game that propelled the team past the Bulls to snap their winning streak.

Friday’s game only created a losing streak.

With Bearden out due to a suspension, senior guard Jarryn Skeete took over with point guard duties, but didn’t score his first two points until there was 3:30 left in the game. Oats wanted Skeete to be a playmaking-facilitator, as well as an offensive threat, but only the former was present in the senior. He only finished with two points on 1 of 8 from the field and only registered two assists.

Oats admitted not having Bearden messed up the “flow of the game.” He also said although Skeete’s numbers didn’t look great, he “wasn’t awful” on the point. He did not turn the ball over in 32 minutes played.

Freshman guard CJ Massinburg was Buffalo’s star as he led the Bulls with a career-high 36 points coming off the bench. He shot 11 of 18 overall and 4 of 6 from three-point range. His arsenal of shots included quick takes to the basket and some outside shots.

“Obviously we had a couple guys out … but at that [halftime] point, I just wanted to do it for my teammates,” Massinburg said.

The Bobcats however, dominated in three-point shooting because of the Bulls’ weak defense around the perimeter – a point of interest that Oats wanted the team to cover, but clearly failed to do so.

Buffalo got the game within six points with 12:20 to go in the first half, but that was the closest it would get to the Bobcats from that point on. Bobcats’ leading scorers Antonio Campbell and Jordan Dartis made it difficult for the Bulls to keep up at the end of the first half as they drove the ball to rim and shot from the outside on many uncontested shots that seemed to always fall.

Ohio went on a 20-8 run during the final 10 minutes of the first half.

Things didn’t get any easier after halftime.

The first 10 minutes of the second half was all Ohio scoring and a lack of Buffalo defense. The Bobcats gained a 24-point lead in the first eight minutes. The Bulls missed six shots while the Bobcats’ offense was unstoppable.

Campbell led the Bobcats with 28 points overall. Dartis had 23 points, 21 of which came from behind the arc. The Bobcats shot 56 percent from 3-point range.

Oats commented that Buffalo wouldn’t be able to hit 56 percent from deep if all the shots it took were completely uncontested – a positive nod to a sharp-shooting Ohio squad.

The Bulls showed weakness when it came to their three-point shots. The Bulls were 5 of 19 from three-point territory.

“The bottom line is you [have to] make some shots,” Oats said. “You can’t go 1-9 from three and you look up and the other team is shooting 50 percent and expect to win games.”

Junior wing Blake Hamilton, one of the Bulls’ leading scorers in the past month, went 3 of 12 overall from the floor and did not connect on one three-point attempt.

Next up is another pivotal conference matchup against conference-leading Akron (20-4, 9-2 MAC) in Akron, Ohio on Tuesday Feb. 16. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

Gabriela Julia is the managing editor and can be reached at gabriela.julia@ubspectrum.com. Follow her on Twitter at @gabrielaajulia.


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