UB men’s basketball (2-11, 1-0 MAC) won 76-64 over the Central Michigan Chippewas (5-8, 0-1 MAC) on the road at McGuirk Arena on Tuesday, giving the Bulls their first victory over a Division I opponent and first road victory this season — the Bulls were previously 0-11 and 0-3 in those respective categories. For the second straight season, UB starts conference play with a win.
The Bulls struggled with free throws in their previous game, a loss to Niagara on Dec. 29, but bounced back against CMU to shoot 90% from the free throw line, converting 20 shots. UB coupled its improvement at the line with the best defensive effort of the season, holding CMU without a three-pointer in the first half. The Bulls shot over 50% from the field while limiting the Chippewas to 22%.
UB ended the first half up by 18 points, and shot 43% on three-point attempts in the opening 20 minutes. The Bulls also dominated Central Michigan on the glass, with a 40-28 rebound advantage and 16 second-chance points for the Bulls. Central Michigan couldn’t get anything going on the fastbreak and were limited to just six fastbreak points.
UB came out firing to begin the game, and a dunk from senior forward Sy Chatman gave the Bulls a 19-4 lead after the first eight minutes. The Chippewas cut the deficit to seven points with 7:41 left to play, but the Bulls closed the half strong with a 15-4 run to restore the advantage thanks to back-to-back three-pointers from freshman guard Ryan Sabol.
Central Michigan came back midway through the second half to come within five points and made it 50-45. But a basket from senior forward Isaiah Adams and four free throws from Chatman squashed the run, and UB prevented CMU from scoring for the final 1:08 of the frame to seal the win.
Chatman turned in another strong performance with 26 points and eight rebounds, and he led the team with three blocks; he leads UB and ranks fourth in the MAC this season with 18.4 points per game. Sabol hit a career-high five three-pointers for his season-high 15 points, and Adams added 13 points and five rebounds.
Senior center Jonnivius Smith provided a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds after a one-game absence, and his presence on the glass was crucial to UB’s rebound advantage.
The Bulls will face Western Michigan (4-9, 1-0 MAC) at home on Saturday, Jan. 6 to open a two-game homestand at Alumni Arena. Tip-off is at 2 p.m. and the game can be streamed on ESPN+.
Henry Daley is an assistant sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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).