Bulls' Youth Exposed
The men's basketball team showed signs of a young team in its first road game of the season.
The Bulls (1-1) struggled offensively, especially from the free-throw line, losing by a score of 64-53 to the Youngstown State Penguins (2-0) on Tuesday night in Youngstown, Ohio.
As a team, Buffalo shot 38 percent from the field and 9-of-27 from the free-throw line, leaving 18 points at the line. Head coach Reggie Witherspoon was not pleased with his team's performance.
"I think we got drained by the lack of free throw shooting," Witherspoon said. "You have a possession, you go to the line, and you come up with nothing…To miss 18 free throws in a game is a lot to overcome."
Buffalo opened up the game with a 10-2 run, which was quickly erased with a 17-point Penguin run over the course of seven minutes.
An assist from senior point guard Byron Mulkey to junior forward Dave Barnett in the closing seconds of the first half capped off a nine-point Bulls run to head into the break down three at 32-29.
Down by a point with seven minutes remaining, the Penguins went on a seven-point run to knock the Bulls out for good.
Not only were the Bulls unable to convert from the charity stripe, they were outrebounded 46 to 33. Junior forward Mitchell Watt fouled out in only 10 minutes of action, leaving the Bulls a man short on the glass.
Barnett finished the game with 13 points and six rebounds, but foul trouble limited his production.
Senior forward Jawaan Alston matched Barnett's game-high 13 points and led the Bulls with eight rebounds
Saturday's stars – junior guard Zach Filzen and Mulkey – combined to shoot 5-of-21 for only 13 points. Although they struggled to score, they contributed elsewhere. Filzen tallied three assists and four rebounds, while Mulkey had six steals with five assists.
Despite the poor night from the line, Witherspoon believes that shooting more free throws in practice is not the answer.
"The one thing about shooting free throws is that it doesn't correct itself just by shooting," Witherspoon said. "It's mostly mental. It's about 99 percent mental."
Next up for the Bulls is a Saturday evening matchup with Towson, their last home game before a four-game road trip. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Alumni Arena.