UB men’s basketball (1-11, 0-0 MAC) lost 69-63 to the Niagara Purple Eagles (3-8, 0-2 MAAC) at Alumni Arena on Friday, leaving the Bulls 0-10 against Division I opponents this season. The match marked UB’s ninth consecutive loss and was the team’s last game before Mid-American Conference (MAC) play begins on Tuesday, Jan. 2.
Free throws proved to be all the difference. UB committed 19 fouls and sent Niagara to the free-throw line 19 times, allowing the Purple Eagles to convert 17 for a 90% clip. The Bulls got to the line 17 times, but only made 53% of them, converting nine foul shots.
UB turned the ball over 16 times, leading to 15 points off turnovers for Niagara. Haunted by their season-long struggle to control possession, the Bulls allowed 14 second-chance points and were outrebounded on both sides of the ball. UB’s bench was also outscored 25-7.
The game was a defensive slog for most of the first half, as the two teams combined for 50 points at halftime and struggled to get it going from beyond the arc. UB made four of 11 three-point attempts in the first 20 minutes, while Niagara made just one of seven attempts.
The Bulls coughed up their lead at halftime in the first four minutes of the second half, as the Purple Eagles stormed out to a 14-3 run. From there, the two teams remained close, with UB senior forward Sy Chatman hitting a three-pointer to tie the game at 51 with 6:22 left to play.
That was as close as Buffalo got to victory. Niagara went on to win by six points.
Chatman tied his career-highs with 29 points and 13 rebounds. That means the senior forward has scored over 20 points in each of the past three games. Senior forward Isaiah Adams was the other starter in double figures for the Bulls, dropping 13 points on efficient shooting from the field and adding nine rebounds.
The Bulls next face Central Michigan (5-6, 0-0 MAC) away on Tuesday, Jan. 2 to open the new calendar year. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. The game can be streamed on ESPN+.
Henry Daley is an assistant sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com
Henry Daley is an assistant sports editor at The Spectrum. His work has featured on other platforms such as Medium and Last Word on Sports. Outside of the newspaper, he enjoys running and watching sports (when he’s not writing about them).