Buffalo's own basketball upset
The courts of Alumni Arena have never seen so much excitement or so much drama.
Friday night, the men's and women's basketball teams came together for a friendly postseason game for charity. The men's team was playing for a cure for diabetes, while the women's team was playing for Rihanna's Battered Women and Children Fund.
Both teams pulled out all the stops in an effort to earn bragging rights as the better Bulls basketball team. The men were confident that they were going to take the title, but they did not deliver as the women came out on top, 72-57.
The men started out strong, taking a 6-0 lead off of back-to-back 3-pointers by senior guard John Boyer and senior forward Calvin Betts. A three-pointer by junior forward Jessica Fortman and a two-point jumper by sophomore guard Brittany Hedderson put the women right back in it with 16:41 left in the first half.
Freshman guard Chrissy Cooper earned a chance to take the lead after Victor E. Bull, the referee for the night, called a foul on senior guard Sean Smiley. Cooper sank both foul shots to give the women a 7-6 advantage with 16:01 remaining.
Senior guard Rodney Pierce attempted to regain the lead by driving in for a lay-up, but junior forward Kourtney Brown stripped him of the ball, much to the dismay of Pierce and everyone on the sidelines.
"I couldn't believe it when she stripped me, but then again a lot of the things that happened in tonight's game surprised me," Pierce said. "The guys couldn't stop talking about that play at the end of the night. It's something that I won't live down anytime soon."
The efforts of Brown, Hedderson, and Fortman allowed the women to dominate for the next five minutes. Freshman guard Abby Dowd knocked down a 3-pointer to cap off a 17-3 run. This gave the women a 13-point lead with just under 10 minutes to go in the opening half.
Senior forward Max Boudreau began a 10-2 run for the men, scoring their next six points. Pierce and sophomore forward Mitchell Watt each contributed a bucket as well to bring the score to 26-19 with 4:55 to go. This was the closest the men would come for the rest of the game.
The women continued to build on their lead, showing greater speed and agility than the men with every passing minute. They ended the first half ahead, 38-27.
The men decided to approach the second half with fresh perspectives by putting some of their younger players in. The women mirrored this strategy and outdid the men, going with an all-freshman lineup. It paid off for the women as they continued to steamroll the men.
Freshman forward Nytor Longar led in the annihilation. Longar blew past sophomore guard Dave Barnett and proceeded to drive hard to the basket for a slam dunk. The senior men looked on in awe, not knowing what to do next.
"We've come back in some pretty tough situations before," Smiley said. "Things just didn't go in our favor. We came in thinking that we could easily beat the girls … I guess we just underestimated them."
It didn't get better for the men from there as the women went on a 20-8 run over the next 10 minutes. With the score at 58-35 and 6:37 on the clock, the women enjoyed their largest lead of the game and were able to relax a little while the men tried to dig themselves out of a very deep rut.
"We knew that we pretty much had the game in the bag at that point," Hedderson said. "So we just tried to keep doing what were doing and have fun."
Though the men were able to score more in the second half, they could not get over the hump.
Brown and Hedderson tied as the leading scorers for the women with 23 points apiece. Betts led the way for the men with 17 points, followed by Pierce and Boudreau with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
The two teams plan on making this an annual event to benefit charities of their choice.