Watson ignites Bulls offense, avenges loss to Miami Ohio
Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013 19:02
The men’s basketball team may want to consider keeping its record books written in pencil rather than pen after this week’s copious cross-outs and torn pages.
The Bulls (11-15, 6-6 Mid-American Conference) won only their third game in 15 trips to Millett Hall, a 79-71 victory over Miami Ohio (8-16, 3-9 MAC) on Saturday.
Senior guard Tony Watson scored 31 points to lead the offensive assault, shooting 10 of 14 from the field and 6 of 9 from behind the arc while dishing out six assists.
“Holy smokes. I knew he had played well, but when they dropped his stat sheet in front of me, I said ‘wow,’” said Buffalo head coach Reggie Witherspoon.
Watson, who struggled with injuries early in the season, is helping to harmonize an offense that has been inconsistent this season in finding perimeter shots.
The Bulls shot 7 for 20 from the field in the first half but were able to hold onto a 39-36 lead going into halftime due to Watson’s 16 points and perfect 6-6 from the field, four of which were three-point rainbows.
Junior forward Javon McCrea, who etched his name into the record books with a career-high rebounding effort on Wednesday night, passed Curtis Blackmore for 10th all-time in scoring in UB history en route to a 20-point, six-rebound performance.
“I’ve got so many stories about Curtis,” Witherspoon said. “He was such a large human being. I remember one time sitting next to him at Clark Hall and I felt his legs were as large as my whole body. He had such great hands and he was so fast for a guy his size. I saw him put up some unbelievable numbers. When you told me [McCrea] was close [to passing Blackmore], I was shocked. He was similar to Javon. He could use both hands around the basket and that really helped him.”
Twenty-one of the Bulls’ 24-second half points came from Watson and McCrea. The vibrant twosome helped kick start a 15-4 run to build the largest lead of the afternoon (12 points).
It was the first time all season the Bulls scored 75 points or more in consecutive games.
However, the RedHawks whittled away at the lead, responding with a 16-7 run of their own as they pulled to within one in the final minutes.
“They were getting it inside,” Witherspoon said. “We couldn’t afford, and we did, to let them pass the ball in rhythm without giving them some turbulence, and we still should have done a better job.”
But freshman guard Jarryn Skeete converted an ‘and-one’ to help Bulls regain separation they did not relinquish.
Buffalo held the RedHawks’ top scorers – Will Felder and Allen Roberts – to a combined 20 points.
The latest victory brings the Bulls closer to sealing a top-four spot in the conference as they have a week off before hosting Manhattan (10-15, 8-7 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) in the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters tournament. The Bulls are currently No. 4 in the MAC standings. Game time is set for 2 p.m. at Alumni Arena.