The men's basketball team has been a dangerous second-half team this season, but on Saturday evening, it was unable to muster any late-game magic.
Buffalo is almost unbeatable when it wins the battle on the boards, but even with a 33-28 rebounding advantage, Eastern Michigan (7-17, 4-7 Mid-American Conference) was still able to clobber the Bulls (15-8, 7-4 MAC), 78-65.
The story of the game was the second half. Eastern Michigan outscored the Bulls 43-31 after intermission and seemed to have an answer for everything Buffalo did. It also didn't hurt that the Eagles shot 35 free throws, as opposed to only 12 by the Bulls.
Freshman forward Javon McCrea continued to show MAC opponents what everyone back in Buffalo already knows; that he is a nightmare to defend. He finished the game with a team-high 17 points, seven rebounds, and two blocked shots.
McCrea had two dunks in the game and really set the pace for the Bulls. With the game still in the balance and just over seven minutes remaining, he threw down his second slam-dunk to bring the Bulls within four at 57-53. From that moment on, it was all Eastern Michigan.
The Eagles held the Bulls without a field goal for the next four minutes and put the game away with an 8-1 run. Eastern Michigan led 65-54 with 3:11 remaining and held on for the win.
Eastern Michigan forward Brandon Bowdry was, as expected, the best player on the court. He finished with a game-high 20 points and six rebounds. He made life difficult for the Bulls' big men and really helped his team take out one of the top squads in the MAC.
For the Bulls, junior forward Dave Barnett played well and chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds in the loss. He was 5-of-8 from the field and made all three of his shots from behind the arc.
Junior forward Zach Filzen struggled in the game, needing 15 shots to score 14 points. He did add two more 3-pointers to his MAC-leading total (80) and moves a step closer to the all-time Bulls single season 3-point record.
Head coach Reggie Witherspoon was not available after the game for comment.
The Bulls get right back to it on Tuesday night when they host Ohio (12-13, 5-6 MAC) at Alumni Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.