Despite Comeback, Bulls Fall Short
Senior guard Byron Mulkey (2) and the men’s basketball team came up just short at St. Bonaventure on Saturday night, as Mulkey missed the game tying shot in the final seconds. Clinton Hodnett /The Spectrum
Luck and great defense are usually a solid recipe for success when trying to win on the road. The men's basketball team didn't have either on Saturday night.
The Bulls (4-3) overcame a 19-point second half deficit at the Reilly Center only to fall just short, losing 76-74 to St. Bonaventure (4-2).
With 13 minutes remaining, the Bonnies led 63-44 in what seemed to be a blowout in the making. The Bulls responded with a 30-11 run to tie the game at 74 with 32 seconds left on the clock.
Bonnies star forward Andrew Nicholson ended up with the ball at the top of the key, and he ripped out the Bulls' heart with a 17-foot jump shot from the top of the key.
Senior point guard Byron Mulkey had a look to tie the game as time expired but it hit off the rim. Bulls head coach Reggie Witherspoon elected not to use the team's one remaining timeout after the Nicholson score.
"[Nicholson] made a tough shot," Witherspoon said. "We got it out and pushed it down [the floor]. It looked like Byron turned the corner and got a decent look but it didn't go in."
Nicholson has dominated this season and came into the game leading the Bonnies in minutes per game (34), points per game (19), rebounds per game (9) and blocks per game (2.2). He only played nine minutes in the first half due to foul trouble but still ended up with 16 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
Coming into the game, the Bonnies averaged only 3.6 3-pointers a game. Against the Bulls, they drained 11 long balls en route to a 65 percent shooting performance from 3-point range for the game.
To illustrate even more what kind of night it was for the Bulls, Bonnies guard Ogo Adegboye came into the game having made six 3-pointers in five games this season. He made seven against Buffalo and finished with 24 points and 10 assists.
Witherspoon thought it was a mixture of poor defense by his team and a lights-out shooting performance by the Bonnies, which he gave them credit for after the contest. He did, however, like the way his team responded in the second half, but he realized how far his young team still needs to go to win games like this one.
"[Committing] only one turnover in the second half was good," Witherspoon said. "But again, we have to play ourselves through some of these things. If we make a couple subs we can get really young in a hurry. Handling the emotional ups and downs is an issue for us."
Mulkey turned in another great performance, leading the Bulls in scoring with 21 points. The senior played all 40 minutes and grabbed seven rebounds, dished out three assists and had three steals. Going into the game, he led the nation in steals with 4.3 per game.
Junior guard Zach Filzen continued his strong play with another serviceable shooting performance for the Bulls. He finished with 18 points and shot 4-for-8 from 3-point range.
Buffalo was outrebounded for the second straight game, 34-27. The Bulls only committed 11 turnovers in the game and shot 51 percent from the field.
Junior forward Titus Robinson has struggled early on this season, but he came out and played well in the loss. He scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds in 24 minutes of play.
The improvement in Robinson's game is a direct result of his ability to stay out of foul trouble, according to Witherspoon.
"Titus came back a little bit and was more aggressive and determined, certainly in the second half," Witherspoon said. "Plus, we could play him because he didn't get into foul trouble."
St. Bonaventure had four players score in double figures in the game. Bonnies guard Michael Davenport scored 13 points, and forward Da'Quan Cook added 12.
The Bulls have to recover quickly from this loss as they play another crosstown rival in Niagara (2-5) on Wednesday night at Alumni Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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