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Toledo's baseball team scored early and often in its three-game series against the Bulls, tallying 43 runs over the weekend as they swept Buffalo, winning, 8-5, 18-4 and 17-8.
In the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, Toledo (21-9, 8-1 MAC) jumped out to an early lead, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning.
The Rockets put together two back-to-back RBI doubles that helped them gain an early lead. They were able to strike again in the third inning for another two runs when junior outfielder Dan Sherwood homered to centerfield. Toledo added another run in the fifth, making the score 5-0.
But Buffalo (13-14, 3-6 MAC) didn't let the early deficit ruin their chance of coming back. Freshman catcher Tom Murphy started the Bulls' rally by putting them on the scoreboard for the first time all day with a solo home run to dead center. Senior outfielder Charlie Karstedt slimmed the Rockets' lead to 5-2 with an RBI single to right field.
Facing a 5-2 deficit with only three innings to play, the Bulls' needed someone to step up and get a big hit. Senior designated hitter Brad Cochrane answered the Bulls' call in the bottom of the seventh inning, delivering a monster three-run homerun that tied the game, 5-5.
"[After we tied the game] there was some energy in the dugout," said head coach Ron Torgalski. "I thought we spotted them some cheap runs early but [despite some early mishaps] I thought we had out-played them up until that point."
But the Bulls were unable to transfer their fiery hitting over to defense.
With two runners on in the top of the eighth inning, Rockets' junior outfielder Jared Hoying hit a routine fly ball to centerfield. Buffalo's senior outfielder Adam Skonieczki, however, failed to make the catch, committing a costly error that allowed two Rockets to score, spoiling the Bulls' hopes of defeating their conference-rival.
Toledo added an insurance run in the top of the ninth to account for the final score, 8-5.
"After the three-run homer, I thought the momentum had swung toward us," Torgalski said. "But we misplayed a ball with two outs and that really hurt us."
The game wasn't a complete wash as three players hit .500 in the contest. Cochrane, Karstedt and Murphy each went 2-for-4 and Cochrane recorded a team-high three RBIs with his homerun.
In the nightcap of the doubleheader, Toledo demonstrated why it's atop the MAC West Division.
Toledo jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a two-run shot by Sherwood. The designated hitter had a monster night, going 5-for-5, collecting seven RBIs while hitting a homerun, two triples, and two doubles.
Bulls' senior shortstop Jacob Rosenbeck nailed a solo shot to right field, but it simply wasn't enough. Toledo rocketed out to a 17-run lead, proving that its high-octane offense was too much for Buffalo to handle. The Rockets hammered the Bulls for 18 runs on 20 hits.
The one bright spot for Buffalo during the disappointing loss was a three-run home run in the eighth inning that came off the bat of Karstedt. Karstedt, who was the designated hitter in this game, went 1-for-2 in the contest with a home run, three RBIs, and a walk. Buffalo, however, went on to lose the game, 18-4.
Windy weather didn't help the Bulls as they had a difficult time adjusting to the conditions.
"The wind on Saturday changed the whole game," Torgalski said. "If you [hit] a ball in the air, it was going [to travel far]. We misplayed a couple of balls and that hurt us. We just didn't make the necessary adjustments in the field and they did."
In the final contest of a three-game set, Toledo continued to dominate early. The Rockets scored fours runs in the first and added another five in the second to take an early 9-0 lead.
Rosenbeck, Karstedt and senior left fielder Bobby Pizzuto went 9-for-14 combined, but their offense couldn't overcome the early deficit. The Bulls hit the ball well, but they lost the momentum in the opening innings and never came back.
The series against Toledo was highlighted by fast starts for the Rockets. Buffalo had to play catch up in most of the contests and weren't able to rally back to beat a strong Toledo team.
"They just jumped on us early," Torgalski said. "We didn't make plays and they had the momentum going. As a team, we talk about jumping on our opponents early and [Toledo was] able to do that to us. They scored in the first [inning] of all three games, making it really tough for us to battle back."
Buffalo will be back in action Tuesday as it hosts St. Bonaventure for a doubleheader, starting at 2 p.m. They follow the home game on Wednesday with a trip to Niagara at 3 p.m.
The beautiful weather in Ithaca, N.Y., this past weekend brought forth an equally beautiful performance by Buffalo's rowing team.
Facing off against their best competition to date, the Bulls finished in second-place in four out of five races on Friday against No. 7 nationally ranked Michigan State and Gonzaga. Buffalo also managed to top Syracuse on Saturday afternoon while also rowing stroke for stroke with the nation's top crew, Yale.
Led by sophomore coxswain Alison Sheehan, Buffalo's Second Varsity Eight Boat finished in 6:48.3, only nine seconds behind first-place Michigan State and twenty seconds in front of third-place Gonzaga. Alongside Sheehan were seniors Sam Masucci and Kelsey Tretter, juniors Lindsay DiCosimo and Ashley Hanhurst, sophomores Alexandra Condon, Dakota Smith, and Jacklyn Postulka, as well as freshman Danielle Carlino.
"What we have is a very young, talented team," said head coach Rudy Wheeler. "Racing against the competition that we did, and performing how we did against them, definitely makes it seem that we deserve a national ranking."
The Bulls also managed to finish second in the Varsity Four race. Buffalo's boat of senior coxswain Britt Marshall, junior Megan Bayley, sophomore Rachel Cuthbert and freshmen Sydney Gilchrist and Sarah Gallagher finished in 7:29.5. The Bulls finished only five seconds behind the first-place Spartans while Gonzaga trailed the pack with a time of 7:46.3.
The afternoon races continued the trend of the day as the Third Varsity Eight race saw the Spartans (6:52.4) cross the finish line ahead of second-place Buffalo (7:00.3) and perennial last place boat, Gonzaga (7:01.9).
Buffalo grabbed its fourth second-place finish of the day in the Second Varsity Four. Michigan State picked up its fourth first-place finish with a time of 7:34.1, while the Bulls finished 21 seconds later, with a time of 7:55.5.
Buffalo's streak of second place finishes snapped in the Varsity Eight Boat race as the Bulls finished in third-place with a time 6:33.1. The Spartans won their fifth race of their flawless day with a time of 6:15.9, while Gonzaga finished in second place with a time of 6:24.2.
"Although our Varsity Eight Boat hasn't won a race this year, I think you can accredit that to their schedule of opponents," Wheeler said. "They're racing against some of the top crews in the country and to post the times that they're posting – while actually finishing ahead of them – is impressive in itself."
On Saturday, the Bulls were back in the water with steady strides again as the team managed to win four out of five races against cross-state rival Syracuse. However, while Buffalo was able to hold its own, they could not top the countries' No. 1 ranked crew, Yale.
The Bulls' Second Varsity Eight Boat shined for the second straight day as they finished the race with a time of 6:48.9, 10 seconds ahead of second-place Syracuse. The Varsity Four Boat raced well again after finishing ahead of the Orange by nearly 16 seconds with a time of 7:32.4. The Bulls' Varsity Eight Boat nearly pulled off a victory in a highly contested race, but lost by three seconds to Syracuse's time of 6:40.6.
The program got its first chance in school history to row against a No. 1 ranked opponent during the afternoon races and showed that they could hang tight with a national powerhouse. The Bulls went stroke for stroke with Yale until the Bulldogs eventually pulled away to win the Varsity Eight Boat race. Buffalo finished just under 10 seconds behind Yale, while the Bulls' Second Varsity Eight Boat lost by nearly 12 seconds.
"What we have is a very young team that is very talented," Wheeler said. "I'm very encouraged by the results of our team. I'm also pleased that our Varsity Eight raced against the best crews in the U.S. and raced well. All of our crews handled themselves well."
After receiving three votes in the latest Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association/USRowing poll, Buffalo hopes that their wins over Gonzaga and Syracuse will get them some more national attention.
"That's what this is all about," Wheeler said. "It's all about becoming nationally ranked and going to the NCAA Championships. I took this program over eight years ago and we were ranked 87th out of 90 teams. We've made great progress and we will continue to make great progress going ahead."
Buffalo will try to continue their hard work in the water next weekend when they travel to Camden, N.J., for the Knetch Cup. Races will run all day on April 10 and 11.
The baseball team went into April's opening weekend hoping to maintain the momentum it had gained throughout the month of March when Buffalo finished with a winning record of 11-7.
Buffalo started the spring month on the right track by taking two out of three games against Northern Illinois (9-17, 3-3 Mid-American Conference), a team that was dominant against the Bulls (13-11, 3-3 MAC) in past years.
The Huskies came into the weekend series having won 15 straight against Buffalo and extended that streak to 16 on Friday with a 6-1 victory at Ralph McKinzie Field in DeKalb, Ill.
Northern Illinois jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after the first inning, but the Bulls responded in the top of the second with an RBI single from junior outfielder David Neff to cut the score to 2-1.
That was the Buffalo offense mustered on the afternoon as the Huskies' senior pitcher Chuck Lukanen kept the Bulls' bats quiet at the plate. Lukanen threw a complete game and allowed just five Buffalo hits.
On Saturday, however, the Bulls finally put an end to the Huskies' streak with a 3-2 victory. Senior third baseman Jacob Rosenbeck and senior outfielder Adam Skonieczki accounted for the majority of the offense during the matinee matchup.
The senior sluggers both went 3-for-4 from the plate as Rosenbeck drove in Skonieczki twice on RBI singles, including the game-winning run in the top of the seventh.
Senior pitcher Pierre Miville-Deschenes picked up his third win of the year on the mound in the victory. Miville-Deschenes gave up five hits and two runs in six innings pitched. Senior pitcher Brian Pullyblank earned the first save of his career after holding the Huskies scoreless over the final three innings in relief.
While hitters were relatively quiet at the plate during the first two contests, the bats went wild during Sunday's rubber match as Buffalo pulled out an 11-7 win on a windy day in Illinois.
Both teams exchanged early leads before the Bulls pulled ahead 4-3 in the top of the third inning. Northern Illinois responded in the bottom half of the inning with three runs to take 6-4 lead.
Buffalo regained the advantage in the top of the fifth with four runs and never relinquished the lead. Two Northern Illinois mistakes proved costly for the Huskies as a wild pitch and a throwing error helped the Bulls take the 8-6 lead. The host team scored a final run in the bottom half of the fifth to cut the deficit to one, but the rally was short lived as the Bulls added an insurance run in the sixth and two more in the eighth to leave the state of Illinois with a series win.
An offensive boom resulted in 18 hits for the Bulls. Senior second baseman Brad Agustin went 4-for-6 and tied the Buffalo all-time record for runs scored in a career with 136. Freshman catcher Tom Murphy recorded three hits while Rosenbeck finished a strong series in going 2-for-4 with four RBIs. Junior starting pitcher Josh Edwards lasted just two and a third innings before sophomore reliever Kevin Crumb took over the mound. Crumb gave up just one run on two hits in six and two thirds innings.
Buffalo returns home this weekend for a three game series against MAC-leading Toledo at Amherst Audubon Field. Game one is set for Friday at 3 p.m., while games two and three are both set for 1 p.m., on Saturday and Sunday.
Earning wins over conference-foe Northern Illinois has presented a problem for Buffalo's softball team in past seasons. Saturday, that trend continued as the Huskies bested the Bulls once again, but Sunday they overcame past struggles, beating Northern Illinois on their own field.
The Bulls traveled to DeKalb. Ill. to play a doubleheader on the Mary M. Bell field against the Huskies, a team that Buffalo has only beaten four times in school history.
Buffalo (10-20, 2-2 MAC) traveled home with a split series after falling to NIU (12-20, 2-2 MAC) 8-5 in the opener, and capturing the second game 3-2.
In the first of two games, the Bulls looked poised to pull off a win from the opening pitch. Buffalo put together a nice second inning as they jumped out to an early 5-0 lead.
Freshman infielder Jessica Griffin kicked things off for Buffalo, starting the second inning with a single to left field. Freshman infielder Alyssa Ward then stepped up to the plate and hit her first collegiate homerun to put the Bulls ahead, 2-0.
Junior outfielder Candace Sheehan continued the drive as she reached first base on a fielder's choice. Freshman infielder Ashley Bertot advanced Sheehan to third with a single, and a few pitches later Bertot stole second base, setting up freshman Kristin Waldron's two-run RBI single to left field.
Waldron scored following a string of errors committed by the Huskies. The Bulls' five-run second inning offensive outburst was a welcome change in a season filled with many low-scoring efforts thus far.
However, the Bulls did not add any runs to the scoreboard after the second inning, leaving the door open for the Huskies. Northern Illinois scored two runs in the bottom of the second, three runs in the bottom of the third, and two go-ahead runs in the bottom of the fourth. Northern Illinois added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth on its way to an 8-5 come from behind victory.
On Sunday, the Bulls looked to salvage the weekend with a victory.
Like the first game in the series, Buffalo jumped out to an early lead. Sheehan led off the second inning, advancing to first on a throwing error. Senior outfielder Kristen Gallipanni came on to pinch-run and stole second. Ward then bunted her over to third and senior Jaime Sheffler followed with an RBI single.
The next batter, freshman infielder Andi Saucier, took first after being hit by a pitch. This set up Bertot for a big RBI opportunity. She delivered with a double to deep left field, increasing the Bulls' lead to 3-0.
NIU's senior Michelle Williams led off the fourth inning with a single and scored on a string of Buffalo throwing errors. In the fifth inning freshman Zoe Sinner led off with a double to deep right field and an RBI single off the bat of Jennifer Barnett drove her home.
The score remained 3-2 as senior pitcher Sharon Barr shut the door on Northern Illinois. Barr blanked the Huskies in the final two innings, and the Bulls won for the first time against Northern Illinois since 2005. Barr pitched the final 5.1 innings of the game, striking out four while only walking one batter.
Buffalo's next game is against cross-town rival Canisius on Thursday. The opening pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Canisius' Demske Sports Complex.
The Miller Tennis Center has been a tough place for opponents to play this season and the men's tennis team was hoping to continue that trend as it kicked off conference play over the weekend.
Trying to defend a perfect home record so far this year, the Bulls (7-4, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) hooked up with conference foe Toledo (8-11, 0-1 MAC) on Saturday. Buffalo used the home-court advantage to rally and pull off a 4-3 comeback win over the Rockets.
Needing to capture victories in two of the final three matches to win the match, the Bulls depended on their fourth and sixth slot players to edge the Rockets.
Sophomore Alex Kalinin fell into a deep hole early, dropping the first set of his match against Toledo's Gursher Harika, 6-2. All hope seemed lost as Kalinin trailed 2-0 early in the second set, but the sophomore came to life and rallied to win the next six games, taking the second set, 6-2, to tie the match at one set apiece.
Kalinin's surge continued in the next set as he gained an early advantage en route to a 6-2, third set victory to notch a point for the Bulls.
"Alex Kalinin really battled out there," head coach Lee Nickell said.
The pressure then shifted to freshman George Tibel, who needed to win if the Bulls were to beat Toledo.
Tibil dropped the first set, 4-6, to Rockets sophomore Leo Sarria. The freshman then cruised in the second set, winning 6-2. In the third and final set, Tibil fell behind a break at 4-2. The Bulls' hopes of preserving their perfect home record looked slim.
But Tibil was able to break Sarria, and in the process took a 5-4 lead. Both players held serve to force the tiebreaker and Tibil defeated Sarria, 7-4, to claim a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) victory.
"It was a great win for George Tibel after being down a break in the third set," Nickell said.
The Rockets jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after winning two-out-of-three doubles matches.
In the first singles match, the Bulls captured a win when sophomore Wojciech Starakiewicz came back from being down a break in the second set to defeat the Rockets' Sven Burus 6-1, 6-4.
Toledo then broke the tie score in the second singles match. Junior Aleksandar Elezovic handled Bulls junior Marcelo Mazzetto 6-3, 6-2.
In third singles, Rockets junior Nutthavit Likitkumchom needed three sets to defeat senior Kirill Kolomyts, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Freshmen Vusa Hove won in straight sets in the fifth slot match. Hove defeated Toledo freshman Bryant Dudzik, 6-2, 6-3.
The Bulls needed strong performances from many of their players to beat Toledo, and Nickell was pleased with the team's overall effort in the win.
"It was a very strong fighting performance for our guys," Nickell said. "We showed great resiliency to come back. Our energy seemed to rise as the game went on and that's what put us over a good Toledo team."
On the heels of St. Patrick's Day, the softball team needed to borrow some luck from the Irish to capture a win down in Myrtle Beach, S.C. at the Coastal Carolina Classic.
In the first of five games at the Classic, the Bulls (8-16) needed a little help from their opponent to squeak past Oakland (8-18), 6-5, in extra innings. Buffalo's luck ran out in the next game as the Bulls fell behind early to Coastal Carolina (12-13) and dropped the contest 9-1.
Buffalo and Oakland battled back and forth for six innings until Oakland put together a rally in the top of the sixth inning. Two Golden Grizzlies reached base and both advanced on a fielder's choice. Junior outfielder Alyssa Deacon stepped up and knocked an RBI double to left centerfield to break the tie and put Oakland ahead 5-4 with just two innings to play.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Bulls comeback began as freshman outfielder Taylor Franich turned on the jets to get Buffalo over the hump. Franich didn't let a strikeout lower her awareness; she noticed a passed ball and took first base. While on first, the freshman utilized her speed, stealing second and then taking third base on a wild pitch. A few pitches later, with two outs on the board, Franich scurried home on a passed ball to tie the game at five runs apiece.
In the first extra frame, the Bulls capitalized on sloppy pitching by Oakland to secure their eighth win of the season. Senior Jaime Sheffler led off the inning with a single and advanced to second base on a throwing error. Sheffler made her way home after pitches hit a series of Buffalo batters, ultimately giving Buffalo the 6-5 win.
Senior Sharon Barr threw a complete game in the win, striking out six while only giving up four earned runs. It wasn't Barr's best outing this season, but her eight strong innings got the job done for the Bulls.
The Classic continued, but game two ended without another Bulls victory.
Buffalo sent junior pitcher Kate Kraus to the mound in game two against host school Coastal Carolina to make the first Division 1-A start of her career. Kraus struggled in the debut outing and yielded six earned runs in just four innings of work.
The Chanticleers feasted off Buffalo pitching, accumulating 13 hits on their way to the 9-1 win. Coastal Carolina exemplified a balanced effort as each Chanticleer in the starting lineup accumulated at least one hit.
Franich went 1-for-3 in the game and recorded the Bulls' lone RBI. The rest of the Buffalo offense was stagnant all game, collecting only five hits in the loss.
Buffalo continued play at the Classic against Sacred Heart (8-8) and Houston Baptist (7-14). For coverage of these games, check Wednesday's edition of The Spectrum.
It's every college athlete's dream to become a conference champion. But for some of the athletes on the women's swimming and diving team, the title of conference champion wasn't the only dream that came true at the 2010 MAC Championship meet in Oxford, Ohio.
Everyone's college career comes to an end at some point, and one of the toughest things to do is let go and say goodbye. For two Buffalo wrestlers, the end of the collegiate journey arrived this past weekend as seniors Dan Bishop and Andrew Stella wrestled in their last regular-season meet as Bulls.
Behind the emotions of their graduating teammates, the Bulls (9-7-1, 2-3 Mid-American Conference) collected their second conference win of the season, defeating Northern Illinois (9-10, 1-4 MAC), 25-8. By getting the win, Buffalo earned its first dual-meet victory over the Huskies since the '00-'01 season.
Bishop saved arguably one of his best performances for last.
After two periods, Bishop faced a 1-0 deficit against the Huskies' Izzy Montemayor. Just when it looked like Bishop was down and defeated, he recorded a reversal in the third period and held on to collect riding time for a 3-1 win.
Another comeback on the afternoon was needed for Stella to close out his collegiate career on a good note. Facing the No. 2 wrestler of the monthly MAC individual rankings, Stella found himself in a quick 4-0 deficit to Northern Illinois' Bryan Deutsch.
In the first period, Deutsch dominated Stella with an early takedown and a two-point nearfall. But just like Bishop, Stella left all of his emotion on the mat and came back to pull off a reversal in the second period to put Deutsch on his back at 2:43. Stella's last win marked his 70th career victory for the Bulls.
The Bulls also managed to collect wins from their group of nationally ranked wrestlers.
In the 165-pound weight class, No. 19 nationally ranked sophomore John-Martin Cannon improved his MAC record to 4-1 with an 11-5 decision over the Huskies' Joe Clothier. Cannon managed to take down Clothier four times to record nine of his 11 points off of takedowns.
At 133, No. 17 Kevin Smith won his fifth MAC dual bout of the season. Smith beat Northern Illinois' Tristen DeShazer rather easily, as he possessed a 3-1 lead after two periods and concluded with a 10-3 win.
After starting 0-3 in MAC competition, redshirt-freshmen Josh Peters ended his season the right way. Looking for his second consecutive MAC win, Peters faced off with Northern Illinois' Zach Benzio. In the second round, Peters took command of the match with a reversal and two-point near fall. Peters went on to win the 184-pound bout, 10-4, improving his conference record to 2-3.
History was made in the 197-pound weight class when junior Jimmy Hamel earned a 14-4 major decision over the Huskies' Scott Penny.
The win marked Hamel's 85th career victory and 40th career dual meet victory. Hamel's win moved him into a three-way tie for ninth place in overall career victories at Buffalo. Hamel is now tied with Josh States, who wrestled for the Bulls from 1997-2001, on the Buffalo all-time dual-meet victory list.
The Bulls now turn their attention to the MAC Championships. They will be held on March 6 and March 7 at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
After a record breaking 25-win performance last season, the softball team traveled to Denton, Texas to start its 2010 schedule at the Sleep Inn Classic.
By CHRISTY SUHR and CHRIS LAW
Asst. Sports Editor and Staff Reporter
After losing their first game in February, the men's basketball team was looking to bounce back in hopes of having a successful final month before March Madness. Though the Bulls had a rough start, they saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
Thursday night, the Bulls (12-9, 5-5 Mid-American Conference) ran into foul trouble at the Rose Center as they faced the Central Michigan Chippewas (11-10, 6-3 MAC) in a game that saw a total of 50 personal fouls. Buffalo committed a season-high 27 fouls with three of their players fouling out, which led to the loss of 88-82.
Head coach Reggie Witherspoon was displeased with all of the fouls that were called.
'We obviously put them on the line a lot. I think they scored 16 of their final 20 points in the first half at the free-throw line,' Witherspoon said. 'I mean when that happens, you're [going to] have a hard time having any success, and we certainly had a hard time here.'
With 6:55 left in the first half, the Chippewas made a rally mostly from the free throw line, scoring their next 11 points from the charity stripe. Central Michigan went ahead of the Bulls by seven with just over two minutes to play. The Bulls then cut the lead to four and the Chippewas took a 41-37 lead going into the locker room.
CMU gave the Bulls their fair share of open looks in the first half, but they stepped it up defensively in the second half and never returned the lead to the Bulls.
Buffalo was able to pull within two points with 16 minutes left in the game and a score of 51-49, but the next two minutes belonged to Central Michigan. They went on an 8-0 run and never looked back. From then on, the Bulls found themselves stuck in foul trouble and Witherspoon saw things falling apart.
'Once you get too many guys in foul trouble, then you're playing guys that don't normally play in those situations and they're trying not to foul,' Witherspoon said. 'So they essentially get out of the way, and you can't play good defense if you're getting out of the way.'
Senior guard Rodney Pierce scored 22 points and had a career-high seven assists. Senior forward Calvin Betts followed with 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Both players, along with senior forward Max Boudreau, fouled out in the final minute of the game.
Justin Bitzer led the Chippewas with 22 points and eight boards.
After dropping their first two games in February, the Bulls traveled to Toledo to try to pick up the team's first ever win at Savage Arena. Buffalo would soon find out that there is a first time for everything.
On Saturday, Buffalo bested the Rockets (3-22, 0-11 MAC) by ending the game on a 6-0 run to win 65-59, adding to Toledo's 14 game losing streak.
The win for the Bulls was far overdue, although the first half looked like the game would go down to the final buzzer. Toledo played Buffalo very tough for the game's first 20 minutes. The Rockets managed to control the paint throughout the first half, scoring 24 of their 38 points in the key. Toledo shot 61.5% from the field, but only managed to build a one-point lead, 38-37 at halftime.
Toledo looked poised to pull off their first MAC win of the season as the Bulls came out in the second half relatively flat. Buffalo turned the ball over numerous times in the beginning of the second period allowing Toledo to hang around in a tight game.
And the game remained tight until Pierce stepped up big in a clutch spot for Buffalo. With 3:05 left in the game, Pierce drove to the basket, pulled up just outside the key and drilled a jumper to break the 59-59 deadlock. Buffalo followed up with a stop on the defensive end. Boudreau and senior guard Sean Smiley added four free throws respectively to seal the Bulls' win, 65-59.
Sloppy play in the first half plagued Buffalo, almost leading them to their third loss in four games but the Bulls was able to show resiliency on the defensive end in the second half that helped propel them to their first ever victory at Toledo.
'I was upset with the first 25 to 28 minutes,' said head coach Reggie Witherspoon. 'To start, we were in a hurry offensively and scored some points but then we opened the second half in a worried state of mind. In the final 12 to 15 minutes, we were back to a determined style of defense, which we are accustomed to.'
Buffalo was led by their captain Pierce who scored 16 points and recorded four assists, while making clutch plays that were essential to the Bulls' win. Betts added 11 points and Boudreau, whom added a big presence in the key defensively for Buffalo, scored 11 points and recorded four rebounds.
Toledo was led by a duo of freshmen. Center Jordan Dressler led the Rockets with a career-high 19 points, shooting 9-13 from the field while adding five rebounds. Standout freshmen guard Jake Barnett poured in 14 points with two 3-pointers. Junior forward Justin Anyijong scored 10 points as well while adding four rebounds.
The Bulls return home from their two-game road trip when they face Eastern Michigan (12-11, 4-6 MAC) on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 7p.m.
In sports, it's more difficult to defend a title than to win it. Buffalo learned that lesson this past weekend when the wrestling team traveled to Newman Arena on the campus of Cornell to wrestle in the 41st Annual New York State Intercollegiate Wrestling Championships.
Nothing has been able to slow down the men's basketball team lately. Entering Wednesday's showdown at Kent State, Buffalo had won four-straight games and seven of eight contests overall.
Sophomore 165-pounder John-Martin Cannon had a rough start to his career as a Buffalo wrestler. But with the help of a caring role model and a promising offseason, this Cannon is locked, loaded and ready to fire on his Mid-American Conference foes.
It was a bittersweet tournament for the wrestling team last week.
Plagued by terrible second half play, the women's basketball team lost both of its games this weekend in the Dead River Company Classic.
Sometimes you can take some positives from a loss. That's how head coach Linda Hill-MacDonald and her women's basketball team will at look Saturday's performance against perennial top 25 team Temple.
Exhibition games are meant to test a team's offseason preparation. They also determine if teams are ready to get their seasons started.
The talent has drastically improved, the success has become more frequent within recent years and the expectations are increasing.
Revenge is sweet.
Rain and harsh weather conditions are a lot easier to handle when you double your win total.
A true rivalry is brewing between two Mid-American Conference cross-country powerhouses.