No. 18 Bulls fall to Bowling Green

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Bowling Green is now the top team in the Mid-American Conference.

The Bulls (19-3, 7-2 MAC) found themselves in front of a sold-out Bowling Green crowd Friday night to take on the Falcons (15-6, 7-1 MAC). 

The 5,000 attendees snagged shirts with “Beat Buffalo” written on them and the prophecy came true. The Falcons outscored UB by 12 points in the second half and won 92-88.

The Bulls shot well, they were able to run in transition and out-rebounded the number-one rebounding team in the conference. Yet, 18 costly turnovers led to Buffalo’s demise.

The Bulls led 47-39 at halftime. Bowling Green opened the second half on a 7-0 run to pull within one point and take away Buffalo’s halftime advantage. The Falcons took their first lead of the game 59-57 with 13:28 left in the second half.

Bowling Green kept the pressure on the Bulls and capitalized with a 12-2 run. The Falcons were up 11 points, as the score reached 84-73, and never trailed the rest of the way.

Buffalo had a chance to tie at the end, but senior guard CJ Massinburg was unable to replicate his West Virginia magic as his three-point attempt hit the back of the rim with 12 seconds remaining.

Senior guard Dontay Caruthers continued his stretch of high-scoring games with 28 points, a new career high. But Caruthers either found himself scoring or turning the ball over each possession. Caruthers finished with six turnovers and no assists.

Bowling Green Junior guard Dylan Frye was able to carve up Buffalo’s dynamic defensive backcourt duo of Caruthers and junior Davonta Jordan for 25 points. His teammate sophomore guard Justin Turner added 22.

The Bulls found themselves in tight games because of the lack of a reliable number-two option on the court. Seniors Jeremy Harris, Nick Perkins and Massinburg have not been the big three to dominate every game.

Harris’ struggles remain the most alarming. Harris was 3-12 and 0-7 from deep against Bowling Green. The supposed best three-point shooter on the Bulls is just 1-18 from three over his last three games. He failed to score over 10 points in each of those games.

Harris seemed to emerge from his season-long slump with a 34-point outing against Toledo. He has not shot over 50 percent in the seven games since.

The Bulls, after losing two of the past three road games, will need Harris to become a reliable scoring option.

Buffalo’s next contest is Central Michigan at home on Feb. 9 at 3:30 p.m.

Sports Desk can be reached at sports@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @UBSpecSports