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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Men’s basketball reach double-digit losing streak in MAC

Turner Battle, ‘05, recognized at halftime and added to UB’s Wall of Fame

<p>UB men’s basketball legend Turner Battle ‘05 was added to the Wall of Fame, making him the sixth men’s basketball player to be inducted.&nbsp;</p>

UB men’s basketball legend Turner Battle ‘05 was added to the Wall of Fame, making him the sixth men’s basketball player to be inducted. 

UB men’s basketball (3-22, 1-11 MAC) fell 73-62 to the Akron Zips (19-6, 11-1 MAC) in Alumni Arena Saturday afternoon. 

The defeat on their home turf marks the Bull’s 10th straight Mid-American Conference (MAC) loss.

“This is one of the best games we’ve played all year. Against a great team,” first-year head coach George Halcovage III said at the post-game press conference. “I have great confidence in our team. I know our record does not indicate where people think we’re at. We are a lot closer than people think we are — and we have to keep reminding ourselves of that.” 

Buffalo fought a tough battle through a majority of play, but lost momentum as they went the last seven minutes without a made field goal. 

Before tipoff, senior forward Sy Chatman was awarded the Coach Leonard T. Serfustini Sportsmanship award for his kindness on and off the court. Chatman ended the night as the Bulls’ top scorer, with 24 points, plus eight rebounds. 

Both teams had equal success during the first half of action, with neither side growing much of a lead. Each team went on strong runs, only to be answered by the opposition. 

Buffalo started to push ahead around the 15-minute mark of the first. Sophomore guard Shawn Fulcher netted a 3-pointer to push the men ahead by 6, giving them a 24-18 lead with three minutes left in the opening frame. After a few possessions of trading blows, the first half concluded with the Bulls leading 32-26. 

“We responded [well] in the first half,” Halcovage said. “The ball moved. We were united at halftime [with] nine assists and only four turnovers. We got stops, which I think was the bigger side of it.” 

During the halftime break, UB men’s basketball legend Turner Battle ‘05 was added to the Wall of Fame, making him the sixth men’s basketball player to be inducted. Battle is the only player in men’s history to lead the team in assists for four straight years, and the only player to finish their career with over 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 400 assists and 100 steals. 

“Battle is one of our UB greats,” Halcovage said. “He represents everything we want our guys to be here at UB. We want our guys to understand that we do want to play for the guys that came before you. It’s part of my responsibility as head coach to honor all the iterations of Buffalo basketball and make sure all these guys, when they’re done playing, know they have a home away from home.” 

Battle was the 2005 MAC player of the year as well as All-MAC first-team. He is credited with rejuvenating the Bulls from a five-win team his sophomore year to a 23-win team in his senior year. 

The second half resumed with a similar duality to the first. A 15-4 from the Zips led by senior guard Ali Ali pushed Akron ahead, but UB responded halfway through the second. The game was tied at 48-48 after a layup from sophomore forward Zaakir Willamson. 

Unfortunately, the Bulls ended the game without converting a field goal in the final seven minutes of competition. The game finished with the Bulls shooting 4-24 (16.7%) from 3-point range, and 23-60 (38.3%) from the field. 

“I’m really proud with how our guys battled,” Halcovage said. “We got a little complacent to start the second half and then we’re in a battle. Certain things didn’t go our way, and we had a couple mental errors that ended up costing us the game.” 

The Bulls have six games remaining in the regular season and currently sit 4.5 games outside of a MAC tournament berth. So what’s their plan? 

“Go 6-0,” Chatman said.  

The Bulls will next face Eastern Michigan (10-15, 3-9 MAC) in a home game on Tuesday. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. The game can be streamed on ESPN+.

Evan is an assistant sports editor and  can be reached at evan.hilbert@ubspectrum.com   


EVAN HILBERT
evan-hilbert.jpg

Evan Hilbert is an assistant sports editor at The Spectrum. He also is a three-season student-athlete with UB’s DI cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track team. He’s a fan of the Milwaukee Bucks, Newcastle United F.C., and the Buffalo Bills. 

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