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Bulls Remain Unbeaten at Home
Them men’s basketball team beat Towson 87-76 on Saturday night at Alumni Arena, behind 23 points from junior guard Zach Filzen (5) and a double-double from freshman forward Javon McCrea (12). Satsuki Aoi /The Spectrum
The men's basketball team has had no problem scoring in its own gym so far this season.
The Bulls (2-1) came out firing in the first half and held off a late rally to pick up their second win at home this season with an 87-76 victory over the Towson Tigers (1-2) on Saturday night.
Junior guard Zach Filzen led a balanced offensive attack, which resulted in five players reaching double figures. In its first two games at home this season, Buffalo has scored 88 and 87 points, respectively.
"I think that we have a lot of weapons this year… in a lot of different positions," said junior forward Mitchell Watt. "I think it really helps the team, because on offense it's a little more spread around. I think that helps with the attitude on the floor. Everyone's getting shots."
Filzen scored 23 points in the game and sank four straight 3-point attempts in the first half, as the Bulls put up 51 points in the opening 20 minutes.
As Filzen heated up, the Tigers switched to a box-and-one defense to get an extra man on the shooter. This didn't faze Filzen or the rest of the Bulls offense.
"I figure if they're going to do that, we have enough guys on this team that we're going to beat them," Filzen said. "It's not a smart move, I don't think against our team, because we got layups, we got open jumpers. If they want to do that, fine."
Filzen shot an efficient 8-of-12 from the floor, while adding six rebounds in arguably the best performance of his short career.
A 3-pointer from junior forward Dave Barnett in the closing seconds capped off a 10-point run for the Bulls to end the first half with a 51-38 advantage.
After the strong offensive performance in the first half, the Bulls lost their sense of urgency, allowing the Tigers to sneak back into the game.
"I think we have some things to improve on," said head coach Reggie Witherspoon. "One of the dangers with slowing the tempo down is that you can get a little stagnant against their zone, but we didn't get stagnant to the point where we turned it over and they shot breakaway layups."
The Tigers were able to get to within four points at 72-68 with over three minutes to go in the game. However, the Bulls bounced back from a poor night at the free throw line on Tuesday against Youngstown State (2-1) and hit their free throws to close out the game.
As a team, the Bulls shot 69 percent at the line, a drastic improvement from their 9-for-27 showing in their previous game. Senior guard Byron Mulkey converted on 10-of-12 attempts from the stripe.
Mulkey also led the way on defense for the Bulls, finishing the game with four steals. As a team, the Bulls forced 18 Tigers turnovers, which were converted into 24 Bulls points.
Foul trouble in the frontcourt for senior forward Jawaan Alston and junior forward Titus Robinson forced Witherspoon to extend the playing time of freshman forward Javon McCrea. The freshman workhorse has impressed his coach and team so far this season.
"There's some things [McCrea] can do that you don't see very often," Witherspoon said. "He can get the rebounds that you swear he's blocked out, and he gets to them… he has guys hanging on him, and sometimes I don't think he even knows they're hanging on him."
McCrea notched his second career double-double in his third career game. He totaled 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Joining McCrea and Filzen in double figures for the Bulls was Watt with 16 points, and Mulkey and Barnett also scored 14 apiece.
The Bulls will travel across town on Tuesday night to battle Big Four rival Canisius (2-1). Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Koessler Athletic Center.
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