UB basketball wins sixth straight game

Bulls defeat Miami OH 71-58


UB is playing its best basketball of the season as the Mid-American Conference Tournament draws closer.

The men’s basketball team (15-12, 9-5 MAC) rolled to their sixth straight win Saturday as they beat the Miami (OH) RedHawks (10-17, 3-11 MAC) 71-58 at Alumni Arena. Senior wing Blake Hamilton led the way with 23 points and shot 5-of-7 on three-pointers. Sophomore Dontay Caruthers added 12 points, 7 assists and three steals. Buffalo struggled shooting a bit in the first half but found their touch in the second.

“It was an ugly win but at this stage of the season we’ll take ugly wins,” said Bulls head coach Nate Oats. “I thought our defense picked up a little bit in the second half, our defense wasn’t even that bad in the first half we just couldn’t get the offense going for whatever reason”

The Bulls offense came into the game on a hot streak but couldn’t find that momentum at the beginning of the game. They missed their first three shots from the floor and were 2-of-8 as a team to start the game. Sophomore CJ Massinburg was 0-of-5 from three-point range in the first half.

They managed to retain the lead most of the first half but let it slip when sophomore Jake Wright hit a three to give the RedHakws a 24-22 lead. Senior wing Willie Conner hit his own three 13 seconds later to take back the lead.

Buffalo secured a 10-point lead with 15:16 left in the game and kept the gap in double digits most of the second half. The Bulls played great defense and held the RedHawks to 37.7 percent shooting on the night.

“I think our defensive intensity has really picked up,” Hamilton said. “Some of the older guys, we really emphasized that we can’t lose we don’t like the feeling of losing, we lost a lot of games that we shouldn’t have lost.”

Caruthers continued his standout season on the defensive side of the floor. His three steals and constant disruption of Miami’s offense was a key factor. Hamilton and Oats both pointed out how important Caruthers has been to the improved defense.

“I think Dontay has been a huge catalyst,” Hamilton said. “Every game he’s gonna guard the best player and he’s gonna make sure that person’s not getting off and we feed off that energy, I think that’s helped us with our defensive intensity.”

Hamilton has been a key factor on the other side of the ball. He has been great offensively and entered the game in the top 10 in the MAC for both points and assists. Miami struggled to defend him and he shot 62 percent from the floor. RedHawks coach John Cooper knew Hamilton was gonna be a threat coming into the game. He noted that while Hamilton might not be the quickest guy, he’s talented in a number of other ways.

“He’s like an old crusty vet, wherever he needs to get, he can get there,” said RedHawks head coach John Cooper. “Then [he] has the strength and the length to play through the contact if you get there with him and of course I think he’s an underrated passer, I don’t think he gets enough credit for his ability so see spots against the defense.”

Buffalo celebrated 100 years of men’s basketball during halftime with numerous former players coming onto the court to be honored.

The Bulls will next be in action Tuesday when they host Kent State.

Daniel Petruccelli is the assistant sports editor and can be reached at daniel.petruccelli@ubspectrum.com