Men’s basketball (11-12, 5-5 MAC) defeated a reeling Western Michigan (6-17, 2-8 MAC) squad Saturday afternoon, who have now lost six straight games. The win keeps the Bulls in the top eight in the Mid-American Conference standings (currently sixth), which would be enough to qualify for the MAC Tournament next month in Cleveland.
UB maintained a lead for most of the game, going into halftime up 39-27. At the half, sophomore guard Curtis Jones had 18 points, and was highly effective from three-point territory, shooting 4-for-9. Freshman center Isaac Jack also tallied nine total rebounds for the Bulls in the opening half.
Despite UB being in control of the scoreboard for the majority of the game, Western Michigan never went away, keeping the game within striking distance throughout.
The Broncos outscored the Bulls in the second half, 49-46, as they hung around mainly due to senior guard Tray Maddox Jr., who had 21 points along with six rebounds and five assists on the afternoon.
Senior guard Lamar Norman Jr. scored 19 for Western Michigan albeit shooting 6-for-20 from field goal range.
On the Bulls’ side of the box score, senior forward Laquill Hardnett scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half, while also dominating the glass, collecting 15 total rebounds. Hardnett led the UB scoring attack in the second half, doing it efficiently, shooting 9-for-14 from the field and 3-for-4 from three.
Jones added to his 18 first half points, finishing the game with 30 points along with four rebounds and three assists.
Jack finished the game with a double-double, the second of his freshman season, scoring 10 points and securing 10 rebounds.
UB was much more efficient with scoring on Saturday compared to their previous game against Akron. As a team, the Bulls shot 29-for-58 (50%) from the field, and 8-for-19 (42.1%) from three. However, the Bulls uncharacteristically had zero fast break points, despite their second-ranked pace of play in the nation.
Next up, the Bulls will be back at home Tuesday night as they take on Eastern Michigan (6-17, 3-7 MAC) at 7 p.m. for Equality and Inclusion night at Alumni Arena. The game can be seen on ESPN+ and listened to on The Varsity Network app.
Brandon Cochi is an assistant sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org