Buffalo earns first win at MAC Center
McCrea eclipses all-time scoring record as Bulls drop Flashes
Published: Saturday, February 22, 2014
Updated: Saturday, February 22, 2014 15:02
Entering Saturday’s game, the men’s basketball team had never won at Kent State. After 11 minutes of game time, it seemed like this trend would continue.
The Bulls hit only one of their first nine shots and began the game down 10-2. The Golden Flashes extended their lead to 12 points before a 10-0 Buffalo run brought the Bulls back into the game.
After a strong second half, the Bulls (16-8, 10-4 Mid-American Conference) defeated Kent State (15-12, 6-8 MAC), 78-69, at the MAC Center on Saturday afternoon. It was their first win in 17 contests at Kent State and snapped the Golden Flashes’ three-game win streak. Senior forward Javon McCrea finished just shy of a double-double with 30 points and nine rebounds.
McCrea scored his 1,919th point in the game to pass Rasaun Young for the most points in school history. Young scored 1,908 points from 1993-98.
“He’s as good as I’ve been around,” said assistant coach Levi Watkins. “I was in the ACC for 12 years, so I’ve been around a lot of good players, but he’s a handful.”
Buffalo escaped the first half with a one-point lead (33-32) despite sloppy offensive play early in the half.
The Bulls took their lead into the second half but trailed 47-45 with 13:11 remaining before a 3-pointer from freshman guard Shannon Evans started a 17-4 run. Buffalo held an 11-point lead with 7:48 remaining.
Kent State pulled the game to within five points with less than two minutes remaining before a McCrea and-one brought the lead to eight.
“It was huge for the seniors and [they were] yelling ‘finally,’ with finally leaving this building with a win,” Watkins said.
The Bulls held a distinct advantage on the boards – outrebounding the Golden Flashes 39-28, including 12 offensive rebounds.
Junior forward Will Regan added 15 points and sophomore forward Justin Moss scored 12 on 3-of-3 shooting from the field. Senior guard Jarod Oldham finished with a game-high eight assists.
Buffalo continued its hot shooting in all phases of the game. The Bulls shot 42.3 percent from the field, 46.2 percent from beyond the arc and 81.8 percent from the foul line.
The Golden Flashes shot for a better percentage than UB (47 percent) but only made seven free throws compared to UB’s 27. Kent State shot just 43.8 percent from the foul line.
Kris Brewer led the Golden Flashes with 16 points.
Buffalo took a half-game lead over Akron (17-9, 9-4 MAC) in the MAC East after Saturday’s victory. Akron plays Ohio (18-8, 8-5 MAC) on Saturday night.
The Bulls return to the road Wednesday against Ohio. Buffalo dropped its first contest with the Bobcats Feb. 15, 73-70, at Alumni Arena. Tip is set for 7 p.m.