Purple Eagle eaters: Regan leads Bulls to victory over Big Four rival
Published: Saturday, December 8, 2012
Updated: Saturday, December 8, 2012 23:12
Any time junior forward Javon McCrea doesn’t convert a single field goal, the men’s basketball team expects it to be a long night.
Sophomore forward Will Regan had other plans on Saturday night.
McCrea scored only three points, but the Bulls (4-7) rallied around Regan – who scored 26 points and had eight rebounds – en route to a 77-67 win over Big Four rival Niagara (3-6). Following losses to Canisius and St. Bonaventure, Buffalo finishes 1-2 against Western New York competition.
The Bulls did not trail once throughout the entire game, but their play was far from perfect.
Buffalo ended the first half on a 7-0 run and took a nine-point lead into the break. The Bulls continued their strong play in the second half, leading by as many as 11 points. They then watched that lead shrink to three in under two minutes.
Head coach Reggie Witherspoon attributed the poor stretch to a lack of focus.
“We’ve got to have a sustained focus on what we are trying to do,” Witherspoon said. “That might be something specific in the game plan or it might be just the way we are playing.”
Regan and junior guard Jarod Oldham were the difference makers for the Bulls. Regan consistently found open shots at big points in the game to keep Niagara at bay, while Oldham led the Bulls with seven assists and also scored 18 points.
“There comes times when I am yelling at these guys to use what we have, and there has to come a time when we know what’s there,” Witherspoon said. “I think tonight, we caught glimpses of it.”
The Bulls have found their stride of late, scoring 70 points in four of their last five games, including each of the past three. They have also won back-to-back games (following a 75-52 win over Milwaukee (3-6) on Wednesday – for the first time this season.
Witherspoon attributes the higher level of play to the players adjusting to each other – especially Regan, who is playing his first season with the Bulls after transferring from Virginia and sitting out a year.
After playing 11 games in the first 28 days of the season, the Bulls have 13 days until their next game against Washington State (5-4). Witherspoon has been looking forward to drilling his players and focusing on their growth rather than constantly game planning.
The Bulls’ game against the Cougars will be played on Friday, Dec. 21 at Key Arena in Seattle, Wash.