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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Men’s basketball squanders early lead in blowout loss to Ball State

Bulls lose fifth-straight game despite 11-0 lead

<p>UB's Isaiah Adams handles the ball in the team's home opener.</p>

UB's Isaiah Adams handles the ball in the team's home opener.

UB men’s basketball (2-16, 1-5 MAC) fell 59-87 to the Ball State Cardinals (9-9, 2-5 MAC) at Alumni Arena on Tuesday. The Bulls slumped to 1-5 in Mid-American Conference (MAC) play after their fifth-straight loss. UB is tied for second-to-last in the 12-team MAC. 

The Bulls struggled on both sides of the ball, shooting a season-low 32.8% from the field while allowing Ball State to shoot over 50%. The Cardinals imposed their will in the paint, with 40 points in the restricted area as they outrebounded UB by a margin of 46-27. Once again, transition defense doomed the Bulls as they allowed 28 fastbreak points. 

UB raced out to an 11-0 run to start the game, capped by a three-pointer from freshman guard Ryan Sabol. Ball State, however, immediately responded with its own run, scoring eight straight points. Senior forward Sy Chatman buried a three-pointer to give the Bulls a 16-10 lead, but the Cardinals roared back again to knot it at 16. After senior center Jonnivius Smith hit just the eighth three-pointer of his career, Ball State dominated the rest of the half, closing the opening period with a 17-2 onslaught that gave the Cardinals a 45-31 lead at halftime. 

The Cardinals then scored the first basket of the second half with a layup, and continued to take over. A couple of three pointers and a layup from Adams cut the lead to 44-59 with 15:29 left to play, but that was as close as the Bulls would get. The Cardinals poured it on in the remaining 15 minutes and tightened up on defense, forcing UB’s offense into plenty of mistakes en route to the 28-point win. 

UB’s Chatman was the game’s leading scorer with 27, hitting four three-pointers and collecting seven rebounds. Chatman was the only Bull in double figures, but Smith had another impactful night on the glass with eight points and seven rebounds. Sabol led the team in assists with five. 

UB’s next opponent is Eastern Michigan (8-11, 1-6 MAC) away on Tuesday, Jan. 27. Tip-off is at 3:30 p.m. and the game can be streamed on ESPN+.

Henry Daley is an assistant sports editor and can be reached at 


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). 



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