Hardwood Report Card: UB men's basketball gets wins over Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green

The Spectrum grades men’s basketball team's MAC road victories

The men’s basketball team (17-9, 8-6 Mid-American Conference) played two crucial conference games this week, winning on the road at Eastern Michigan, 78-63, and at Bowling Green, 68-56.

Three-point shooting: A

The Bulls shot 16 of 30 from 3-point range over the course of the two games, in what was a great showing from beyond the arc. In Wednesday’s game against Eastern Michigan, junior guard Jarryn Skeete led the Bulls in 3-pointers, shooting 3 of 5 for the night. Sophomore guard Shannon Evans was close behind, shooting 2 of 4.

Evans sank five 3-pointers against Bowling Green and shot 83.3 percent from beyond the arc. The rest of the team accumulated four 3-pointers, one coming from senior forward Xavier Ford and three coming from Skeete.

Foul Shooting: A-

The Bulls shot well from beyond the arc, and the same can be said about their shooting from the line. Buffalo shot 77.5 percent from the stripe over the two games.

Senior forward Will Regan went to the line seven times against Eastern Michigan, converting five of those attempts. Ford was perfect from the line, shooting 4 of 4. The Bulls shot 70.6 percent as a team.

On Saturday, the Bulls shot 82.6 percent from the line. Junior forward Justin Moss shot 11 of 12 from the line to lead the team. The rest of the team shot 19 of 23 on the night.

The Bull’s free throws against Bowling Green came at very pivotal points as well. The Bulls hit their final 12 free throws down the stretch seal their 68-56 win over the Falcons.

Rebounding: A-

The Bulls out-rebounded both Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green this week. Buffalo grabbed 46 rebounds against the Eagles and 43 against the Falcons.

Moss had a total of 21 rebounds over the course of the two games. Ford and Skeete totaled 12.

On the offensive end, the Bulls totaled 27 offensive rebounds, with Ford grabbing three against Eastern Michigan and Skeete snatching four against Bowling Green.

The bench had 28 rebounds in the two games. The leading rebounder on the bench was junior forward Rodell Wigginton, who had eight between the two games.

Ball Control: C+

Buffalo had 25 turnovers to just 20 assists this week.

Despite winning by 15 on Wednesday, the Bulls turned the ball over 17 times. Buffalo was lucky their carelessness with the ball did not hurt them against a weak Eastern Michigan team. All players who recorded more than 11 minutes in the game accumulated a turnover except Johnson.

The Bulls turned it over only eight times against Bowling Green. Moss had a particularly rough week while handling the ball, as he turned the ball over eight times between the two games.

Offense: B

As opposed to the high-scoring games over the past few weeks, the Bulls turned it down a bit on the scoring end. The team averaged slightly less than their overall season average of 74 points, averaging 73 points between the two victories this week.

On Wednesday, the Bulls had four players in double-digits, including Regan who came off the bench to drop 13. But on Saturday, the Bulls only had three players who were in double-digits. Evans led with 19 points on 5 of 6 shooting from beyond the arc. He scored 14 in the first half, but only five in the second.

Defense: B+

The Bulls stepped it up on the defensive end this week, contributing to their two crucial road wins.

In addition to out-rebounding both teams, the Bulls had both teams shooting less than 50 percent from the field. Against Eastern Michigan, Buffalo allowed one player had a field goal percentage of 50 percent or above, and in the second half, the Eagles only shot 36 percent.

Bowling Green faired a bit better, going 20 of 50 from the field. Four of their players had double-digit scoring figures, but still lost to the Bulls by 12 points.

Buffalo outscored this week’s opponents 146-119. It is the second-highest differential in a two-game stretch this season.

Bench Production: B-

After producing 24 points against Eastern Michigan, the Buffalo bench produced just four points against Bowling Green.

Regan stood out for the Bulls coming off the bench against the Eagles. Although he only played 19 minutes in the game, he scored 13 points and grabbed three rebounds.

But he only put up four points in Saturday’s win. He went 2 of 7 from the field and missed both of his free-throw attempts in a four-point performance. Wigginton only put up six points in the games this week despite playing an average of 25 minutes per game.

Buffalo will need better production from the bench if its going to go far in the MAC Tournament.

Coaching: B-

Head coach Bobby Hurley secured two significant road victories to give the Bulls a winning record in MAC play. The Bulls were 2-4 in road conference play before this week, but were able to pick up two crucial road victories. In both games, the Bulls were up at half and came through for the victories, even though they almost gave it away against Bowling Green.

Hurley’s grade would have been much lower had the team not lost its second-half lead against the Falcons. On Saturday, the Bulls were up 36-22 to begin the second half but squandered the lead with 7:15 left in the game after Falcons went on a 23-7 run to take a 49-48 lead.

The team won due to clutch free throws, not for Hurley’s coaching. Nonetheless, two road wins in the MAC is hard and the team was able to pull it off.

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