Dreadful second half, poor guard play lead Bulls to second-straight conference loss
Junior forward Javon McCrea (12) led the Bulls in scoring once again, as he totaled 15 points in a rough offensive night for Buffalo. Courtesy of Andrew Mascharka
The youthful men's basketball team has experienced many different scenarios this season, but a new one was on the horizon on Wednesday night.
Only three UB players put their mark in the second-half scoring column of the Bulls' (8-15, 3-6 Mid-American Conference) game against Eastern Michigan (11-11, 4-4 MAC). Buffalo scored just 13 points in the final 20 minutes. The 65-46 loss marked the squad's second-worst scoring output of the season.
The Bulls' miserable second half came after an above-average first. The Bulls trailed just 37-33 at the break after shooting 52.4 percent from the field. But their 27.8 shooting percentage and 16-minute scoreless streak in the second allowed the Eagles to go on a 24-7 run, ultimately outscoring the Bulls 28-13 in the half.
Junior forwards Javon McCrea (15 points) and Cameron Downing (seven) and sophomore forward Will Regan (12) accounted for 34 of the Bulls' 46 points and all 13 of the team's second-half points. It was the 11th time this season McCrea has scored in double figures.
"We're going to have ups and downs with our guards," Witherspoon said. "Sometimes they play great and sometimes they look like they've never seen a basketball. Turnovers happened when I thought we got mechanical with the basketball passing against the zone, passing in traffic, holding it. When [the ball] got there, too many people were around."
The offense only attempted 39 shots in the game, its fewest of the season.
Defensively, the Bulls experienced struggles. They allowed 23 points off turnovers and were outrebounded 21-9 on the offensive glass.
The Eagles attempted just three 3-pointers in the game and shot 47.3 percent from the field on 55 attempts. Their ball security contributed to their offensive efficiency, as the Eagles turned the ball over only four times in the game - once in the second half.
Eastern Michigan forward Glenn Bryant led the team with 17 points and Austin Harper added 10 points off the bench.
"Our defense was as poor as it's been all season, but give credit to the Eagles for that," Witherspoon said. "We were submissive. We were not nearly aggressive enough to get them off the glass."
The Bulls will come back to Alumni Arena on Saturday for their first home game since Jan. 30 (a 91-73 win over Central Michigan). Buffalo will square off with Northern Illinois (5-16, 3-6 MAC) at 1 p.m.
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