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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Victory over Eastern Michigan snaps MAC losing streak for men’s basketball

The win was UB’s first at home this season against a D-I opponent

<p>The Bulls improved to 4-22 on Tuesday.</p>

The Bulls improved to 4-22 on Tuesday.

UB men’s basketball (4-22, 2-11 MAC) won 78-69 over the Eastern Michigan Eagles (10-16, 3-10 MAC) on Tuesday night. This marks the Bulls’ second win in four games after an overtime victory against the Georgia Southern Eagles on Feb. 10 snapped a nine-game losing streak. 

UB had lost 11 straight Mid-American Conference (MAC) games before Tuesday and hadn't won a home game against a Division-I opponent all season.   

The Bulls dominated in the paint, both in rebounding and scoring. UB scored 48 points in the paint while limiting the Eagles to 26. Redshirt sophomore Zaakir Williamson had seven offensive rebounds, a game-high, and helped generate 17 second-chance points for the Bulls. Eastern Michigan’s biggest and only lead of the game was 1 point as UB locked in defensively, and the Eagles only mustered eight fast-break points against the Bulls in transition.

“We’ve really been emphasizing [rebounding] with our guys and they just kept getting better,” head coach George Halcovage said. “It’s a mindset that we have taken a step of understanding in.” 

The first half of the matchup was marked by a tight back-and-forth battle between the teams, as both squads took advantage of any opportunity they had. A total of four lead changes occurred in the half but UB held the advantage 33-31 going into the second half. 

Following a second-chance conversion early in the second half from Williamson, the Bulls went on an 11-0 run which was capped off with a deep 3-point fast break from freshman guard Bryson Wilson. After the run, UB held on to the lead for the rest of the game and punched through Eastern Michigan’s late full-court press.

“I thought we didn’t do a good enough job of moving it [in the first half],” Halcovage said. “The biggest key was we got stops in the second half, and then we were able to get out in transition. These guys are dynamic and they’re hard to guard in space.” 

Williamson was named player of the game, putting up his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Senior forward Sy Chatman was the team’s leading scorer, chipping in 23 points and 13 rebounds. It was the second time this season that the Bulls have had two players with double-doubles in the same game. 

The Bulls now have five games left in the regular season to clinch a playoff spot.Their postseason chances remain slim; even winning out does not guarantee a postseason berth. Their next game will be against the Western Michigan Broncos (9-17, 6-7 MAC) on Saturday, Feb. 24. Tip-off is at 2:30 p.m. The game can be streamed on ESPN+. 

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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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