Regan leads Bulls to upset over Ball State
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 14, 2013 13:03
CLEVELAND – Before his arrival in Buffalo, sophomore forward Will Regan was not the focal point of a Virginia offense, only seeing 20 games on the floor, averaging 1.9 points per game.
After transferring back home to Buffalo, Regan had to wait one year before he could wear the name of his endeared city on his chest.
On Wednesday night, the wait was over for Regan. He was the nucleus of the Bulls’ offense and the main event in a prize fight that saw nine lead changes on the stage of the Mid-American Conference Tournament second round.
Regan had a career-high 36 points while going 11 for 17 from the field (5 for 7 from three-point range) en route to the Bulls’ (14-19, 7-9 MAC) 76-61 upset over No. 5 seed Ball State (15-15, 8-8 MAC).
“He got it going early on a three where we had a miscommunication,” said Ball State head coach Bill Taylor. “He got just a comfortable rhythm three. He made a couple tough ones after that, fairly contested by [Matt] Kamieniecki. He got into a great offensive rhythm and really had our defense spread out where they were chasing them all over the place.”
The last time the two teams met on Jan. 23, Regan hit a clutch 3-pointer, giving the Bulls a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, defeating the Cardinals 66-63 in Muncie, Ind.
The theme of Wednesday night was no different. After Regan scored 11 points on 2-for-6 shooting from the field in the first half, he found his stroke going 4 for 4 from three-point range in the second half.
“It was more just making my shots early on,” Regan said. “In the first half, I had a couple of shots I didn’t make. I had plenty of open shots. My teammates found me in open spots and I think when I hit those first couple of threes, it really put [Ball State] in a dilemma.”
Accompanying Regan offensively was junior forward Javon McCrea, who had seven of the Bulls’ eleven points.
McCrea – who is one point shy of UB’s all-time record for points in a single season (592), which was set by Calvin Cage in 2006 – finished the game with a double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds).
On the defensive front, the Bulls forced 17 turnovers and held the Cardinals to 25 points in the second half, while only allowing them to shoot 25 percent from the field, though the Bulls were outrebounded 37-31.
“The three things we talked about the most [at halftime] were rebounding, obviously” said Bulls’ head coach Reggie Witherspoon. “We talked about our defensive principles. We talked about how they did a good job defensively in the first half, but what is going to be our response to them showing us some resistance?”
Although excitement filled the locker room, the task at hand is not to be taken lightly with the Bulls’ upcoming opponent Kent State (19-12, 9-7 MAC) in the quarterfinal round of the MAC Tournament.
In two meetings this season, Buffalo dropped both contests, losing 83-81 on a last-second buzzer beater at M.A.C. Center on Feb. 27 of this season.
"[Kent State] has been playing great,” Witherspoon said. “We will have to have a really determined effort from start to finish.”
The Bulls look to keep their momentum as they take on the Golden Flashes tomorrow. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.