Turnovers, fouls plague UB Bulls in road loss to Eastern Michigan

Buffalo commits 23 turnovers in 81-69 loss


More times that not this season, the Buffalo men’s basketball team has been plagued by its inability to convert on the basics of the game.

Three games into Mid-American Conference play and it seems Buffalo can’t get out of that same rut.

The Bulls (8-8, 1-2 MAC), despite grabbing 49 rebounds, turned the ball over 23 times and shot less than 40 percent in a 81-69 loss to Eastern Michigan (10-6, 2-1 MAC) Tuesday night in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

The Bulls’ third MAC game of the season was tight through the first half, but it was broken open via a three-minute, nine-point swing in favor of the Eagles from 10:58 to 7:38 left in the second half.

The Bulls’ ultimate downfall was time management and sloppy play down the stretch.

Eastern Michigan connected on 10 of its season-high 34 free throws on the night in the final 7:30 of the game to seal its victory. It was the most free throws the Eagles made since a matchup against Central Michigan back in 2005.

Buffalo had a problem keeping personnel in the game. Freshman forward Ikenna Smart was in foul trouble throughout, beginning with two quick fouls and added another one toward the end of the first half. The only true center on the team was limited to six minutes on the court and did not score a point.

It did give ample playing time to freshman forward – and Ypsilanti native – Nick Perkins. Perkins grabbed a game-high 13 boards, but only put up five points on 1-of-7 shooting in the homecoming.

The standout performer for Buffalo was junior wing Blake Hamilton. The wing scored a team-high 16 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Junior wing Willie Conner added 14 points and senior guard Jarryn Skeete added eight points. Skeete was one of two players who fouled out and one of seven Bulls to accumulate four or more personal fouls.

After going 1-1 during the two-game road trip, the Bulls return to Alumni Arena on Saturday to face Central Michigan (9-7, 2-1 MAC). It will be a rematch of last season’s MAC Tournament Championship game.

Tipoff is set for 3:30 p.m.

Jordan Grossman is the co-senior sports editor and can be reached at jordan.grossman@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jordanmgrossman.