Moss lifts Bulls at the buzzer
Buffalo wins its fifth consecutive game
Published: Friday, January 31, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 31, 2014 00:01
When UB had a 12-point lead with less than four minutes remaining, it’s safe to assume nobody in Alumni Arena thought it would come down to the final possession. Six Buffalo turnovers and missed shots, however, changed the course of the game and put Miami Ohio at the line with a chance to tie the game in the waning moments.
Miami Ohio’s Hannah Robertson hit both of her free throws with 12 seconds left to tie the game at 56. On the ensuing pass inbounds, sophomore guard Karin Moss found herself with the ball.
She took the ball coast to coast and laid up the game’s final points – only her second bucket of the evening – and the bench stormed the court in celebration.
“Score, let’s not go into overtime,” Moss said when she spoke about her mindset in the final possession. “I just got the ball and I ran with it. I know I’m quicker than all the defenders on the Miami team, and I’ve been getting by them all game, so I just figured: ‘You know what? Let’s finish it right now.’”
The Bulls (12-7, 5-3 Mid-American Conference) defeated Miami Ohio (6-13, 2-6 MAC), 58-56, on Thursday evening at Alumni Arena. It is the fifth consecutive conference win for Buffalo after dropping its first three.
Senior guard Margeaux Gupilan began the Buffalo scoring with three 3-pointers and an assist, contributing to all 12 of Buffalo’s initial points. Her impressive play continued as she closed the half hitting her final three shots from deep – including one at the buzzer to end the half and give the Bulls their largest lead of the half (30-20).
“Every time I tried to see [junior forward Kristen Sharkey] in the post, there were three people on her,” Gupilan said. “I felt like if they are backing up, triple-teaming Sharkey, I’m wide open. I have to start relieving some pressure off her, and I just felt it today.”
Gupilan finished the first half with 18 points – all courtesy of 3-pointers – and three assists. She either scored or assisted on all but two of UB’s field goals. Gupilan finished with 20 – tying a career high. Her six three-point goals is a new personal best.
The Buffalo ‘D’ came out in a full-on attack. The Bulls forced more turnovers (19) than the number of made field goals they allowed (16) in the game.The RedHawks shot just 25.4 percent from the field – including 17.2 percent in the opening 20 minutes – and junior forward Christa Baccas tied a career-high with eight blocks.
Early in the first half, head coach Felisha-Legette Jack had to do something she doesn’t often do to sophomore guard Mackenzie Loesing: Yell at her to shoot.
After missing her first three shots and air balling a free-throw, Loesing – the team’s leading scorer – passed up an open look, much to the dismay of Legette-Jack.
Legette-Jack screamed, “shoot the ball,” at Loesing. She looked confused and turned to her coach as Legette-Jack reiterated, “Yes, you.” Loesing responded with a coast-to-coast layup followed by an “and one” on a mid-range jumper on her next shot. Loesing finished the game with 19 points.
“When you are around these girls for so long, you can tell when they are doubting themselves and I sensed some doubt in her ability to score,” Legette-Jack said. “What she didn’t understand is even if they go in or not, we need her to shoot it because our rhythm is about her shooting the ball.”
Twenty of Buffalo’s 33 first-half shots came from behind the arc. The Bulls began to push the ball inside more in the second half and finished shooting 35.5 percent from the field.
“We couldn’t shoot the ball well, but we said if we can’t shoot it, let’s not give them a lot of opportunities,” Legette-Jack said.
The Bulls held Miami Ohio’s leading scorer Hannah Robertson to just 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting.
The Bulls head to the road to face Akron (11-8, 5-3 MAC) on Sunday. Tip is set for 2 p.m.