UB men’s basketball (3-20, 1-9 MAC) defeated the Georgia Southern Eagles (5-20, 5-7 Sun Belt) 82-81 in an overtime nail-biter Saturday afternoon. It was the Bulls' first win since Jan. 2 against Central Michigan (14-10, 8-3 MAC).
UB had a strong first half, outshooting the Eagles 57.1% to 30%. The Bulls stayed in front of the Eagles for the entire half and led 45-33 going into the break.
In the second half, the Eagles slowly started to capitalize on UB’s missed chances. Georgia Southern managed to hit five three-pointers and the Bulls only managed one in the latter half.
With 40 seconds left in regulation, Georgia Southern took its first lead of the game 72-70. It looked like another disappointing UB loss was inevitable.
The Bulls were saved by senior forward Isaiah Adams’ two-pointer with 26 seconds left that forced the 72-72 game into overtime. Eagles’ freshman guard Eren Banks missed what would’ve been a game-winning layup with two seconds left in the game.
After that incredibly close call in the dying moments of the game, UB was given a second chance. Overtime was a riveting back and forth between both teams, with the lead switching four times. In the end, it was senior center Jonnivius Smith whose layup gave UB the one-point 82-81 lead that won the game. It was Banks again who missed a potential game-winning three-pointer in the final moment of the game.
With 50 points in the paint, the Bulls matched their largest total since they scored 56 on Miami (OH) on Jan. 9, and might have found an offensive rhythm moving forward. Adams led the Bulls in points with 24, and the game in assists with six. He wasn’t the only Bull who hit 20 points, as senior forward Sy Chatman dropped 23 on the Eagles. Redshirt sophomore forward Zaakir Williamson was the only other Bull to score in the double digits, scoring 10, a season-high for him.
UB will look to build off of this cross-conference victory, starting with a trip to Northern Illinois where they take on the Huskies (8-15, 2-8 MAC) for the first time this season. The game will be on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 8 p.m., and can be watched on ESPN+.
Ricardo Castillo is the senior sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com