Regan’s strong night powers Bulls past Kent State
Junior forward scores 25 as men’s basketball team improves to 3-1 in MAC play
Published: Saturday, January 18, 2014
Updated: Saturday, January 18, 2014 20:01
In the first half of the men basketball team’s game against Kent State on Saturday, the Bulls’ offense was so stagnant that at one point it went nine minutes without scoring a field goal.
But the squad’s defensive play kept it close, and when UB opened up the second half with a 22-11 run, it gave the Bulls the lead for good.
Buffalo (9-5, 3-1 Mid-American Conference) stayed undefeated at home, defeating rival Kent State (11-6, 2-2 MAC), 71-60, in front of an Alumni Arena crowd of 3,347.
The Bulls struggled from the field in the first half, shooting 37.5 percent overall and only 1 for 8 from three. But despite trailing by seven points with 3:53 left in the first, the Bulls were able to cut the Flashes’ lead to 29-27 by the half.
The second half was a different story. Buffalo started 4 for 6 from three, including back-to-back 3-pointers from senior guard Josh Freelove and junior forward Will Regan that gave the Bulls a seven-point lead early in the half.
The Bulls have outscored their opponents in the second half in 10 of their 14 games this season, which is something head coach Bobby Hurley credited to the Bulls’ conditioning.
“I think we’re in great shape,” Hurley said. “These guys are committed players; they are really in great physical condition. We pressure the ball, we play great defense, and I think that wears on our opponents.”
Regan had his best game of the season, finishing with 25 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Seniors forward Javon McCrea and Josh Freelove were the only other Bulls to score in double digits. Freelove finished with 14 and McCrea had 12. Freelove and Regan scored UB's first 20 points of the second half
McCrea is now only eight points behind Mike Martinho for third on UB’s career scoring list.
“There is an opportunity to go off every night when you play with Javon,” Regan said. “But especially tonight with the way they were pressuring ball screens. It was tough in the first half because I had a few turnovers early and I got into foul trouble so I really wasn’t able to get into my rhythm.”
The Flashes were able to keep McCrea in check. Coming into Saturday’s game, McCrea was averaging 21.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in eight games against them.
The Flashes struggled with fouls from early in the second half on and were forced to play conservative with four players – including two starters – with three fouls or more. On one Bulls possession in the second half, Kent State committed three fouls before the end of the possession.
Before the Bulls pulled away in the second half, it had been a closely contested match throughout with six ties and six lead changes. It was the Bulls’ hot shooting that turned the tide of the game. The Bulls came out in the second half shooting 46.4 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from behind the arc.
The game was the final home game before students return to campus for the spring semester.
The Bulls now travel west for their next game, where they will take on Ball State (3-12, 0-4 MAC) at 8 p.m. on Thursday.