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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Men’s basketball loses both games on road trip last week, drops to 7th in MAC

With 4 regular-season games remaining, the Bulls look to keep their MAC Tournament chances alive

Senior forward Laquill Hardnett scored nine points in Saturday's contest against Akron.
Senior forward Laquill Hardnett scored nine points in Saturday's contest against Akron.

Men’s basketball (12-15, 6-8 MAC) fell 85-61 to the Ohio Bobcats (16-11, 8-6 MAC), the largest-ever margin of victory for the Bobcats over the Bulls, on Tuesday. UB lost again, this time 86-66, at Akron (19-8, 11-3 MAC) on Saturday.

Men’s basketball has now lost their last three conference games, which puts them in a concerning position in the standings with only four games before this year’s MAC Tournament in March.

UB led the game for a large portion of the first half against Ohio, but the Bulls were unable to keep up as they were outscored 34-22. UB had a tough first half scoring-wise, shooting 8-29 from the field and only managing to score a single three-pointer. 

Once UB lost the lead early on, they weren’t able to recuperate it. The Bobcats scored 51 points in the second half, going 80% on free throws as well as scoring 17 points off of turnovers. The scoring gap between the two teams was 24 points in the second half, which doubled from the first half’s 12-point gap.

Sophomore guard Curtis Jones and junior forward Jonnivius Smith were the Bulls’ scoring leaders against the Bobcats with 14 each. Junior forward Isaiah Adams scored 10 points, making him the only other Bull to reach double-digits during Tuesday’s game. The Bobcats were led by freshman guard Elmore James and senior forward Dwight Wilson, who both scored 15 points respectively, and were two of five players with double-digit scoring for Ohio.

On Saturday, the Bulls lost to the Akron Zips, 88-66, in a game where UB played catch-up for almost the entire 40 minutes. 

For the first 12 minutes of play, the Bulls kept the deficit to seven points or less, but by the end of the first half they were down 46-34. Graduate guard Armoni Foster led the Bulls in scoring for the game with 12 points. 

Junior forward Jonnivius Smith scored 11 points for UB.  Smith is averaging 12.75 points per game over the past four contests while no other Bull has scored 11 points or more in that same stretch. Against the Zips, Smith was 4-for-5 from the field and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line. 

The Zips eclipsed the Bulls in every major statistic besides fouls. Akron currently stands at 3rd in the MAC rankings, while the Bulls are 7th.

UB plays again on Tuesday at home against Central Michigan (10-17, 5-9 MAC), where they look to avenge last month’s 87-78 loss against the Chippewas. The game begins at 7 p.m. and can be watched on ESPN+.

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