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Bulls run on less horsepower

Buffalo can’t pull off late comeback at Western Michigan

Senior Sports Editor

Published: Sunday, February 3, 2013

Updated: Sunday, February 3, 2013 16:02

bball

Alexa Strudler /// The Spectrum

Junior forward Javon McCrea led the Bulls with 22 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the Bulls lost to Western Michigan 71-60.

On a day where junior forward Javon McCrea etched his name in the Buffalo record books, the men’s basketball team was unable to etch a ‘W’ into the win column.

The Bulls (8-14, 3-5 Mid-American Conference) were unable to hold off a late offensive surge by Western Michigan (14-7, 6-2 MAC), resulting in a 71-60 loss on the road Saturday night.

Buffalo came within four points late in the second half but missed three consecutive shots, and the Bulls were unable to overcome the Broncos’ 7-0 run in the final three minutes.

There were 38 fouls in the second half. Junior forwards McCrea and Cameron Downing and sophomore forward Will Regan fouled out.

“We got out-toughed tonight,” said head coach Reggie Witherspoon. “We had three post players foul out so we were thin, but we have to be tough enough to fight through those things.”

McCrea led the Bulls’ offense with 22 points and 10 rebounds, earning his fifth double-double of the season.

McCrea’s 22 points moved him into a tie for 13th place with Rodney Pierce on the Bulls’ career scoring list, while his 10 rebounds gave him 600 in his career. He is the sixth player in Bulls history to do so.

“[Javon] played hard. He needed some help today around the basket,” Witherspoon said. “We didn’t have it for him.”

Inconsistence perimeter shooting and turnovers slowed the production of the Bulls’ offense.

Regan, who has been nothing short of brilliant from behind the arc, struggled to provide the Bulls with an outside advantage. Regan was 2 for 10 from three-point range and 3 for 13 from the field.

“It’s hard for [Regan] to turn down those [shots],” Witherspoon said. “The looks he got tonight [and] the looks we’ve been getting all season, I hope Zach Filzen is not watching any of these games. Him and Byron Mulkey and some of the guys we’ve had in the past would have paid $100 a shot to get that open.”

The Bulls turned the ball over 20 times in the game, 12 coming in the second half, which led to center Shayne Whittington creating havoc for the Bulls’ defense, going 15 of 32 from the floor with 23 points and 14 rebounds.

Whittington and McCrea battled pound for pound in the post throughout the game like a prizefight.

But the Bulls were out-rebounded 40-30 by Western Michigan, which collected 15 offensively.

“With the basketball, you can’t give in and wait for someone to give you something,” Witherspoon said. “You’ve got to go to work and earn it, and we’re not ready to do that right now.”

The Bulls will continue their conference play as they travel to Eastern Michigan (10-11, 3-4 MAC) on Wednesday. Tip is at 7 p.m.

 

Email: sports@ubspectrum.com

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