BUFFALO, NY - Four three pointers from four different players late in the second half propelled the University at Buffalo men's basketball team to a 78-73 come from behind victory over St. Bonaventure, Saturday afternoon in front of 4,652 fans at Alumni Arena. The win was UB's fourth in a row and its first over St. Bonaventure since the 1996-97 season.
The contest was close through out, with neither team leading by more than nine during the 40 minutes of action. However, it was the Bulls who were trailing by six with 5:31 remaining, when the game changed in the favor of the home team. Senior Joshua Freelove hit the first of what would be four straight three pointers for the Bulls putting them in front. A three from junior Will Regan tied it up before St. Bonaventure regained the three point lead. Calmly on the next trip, freshman Shannon Evans knocked down a triple to tie the game up and the next time down the floor, sophomore Jarryn Skeete hit a three pointer of his own, giving the Bulls the lead for good with 2:09 left. Even more impressive in the stretch was that all four plays came on assists from four different individuals. The Bulls knocked down their final six free throws to ice the victory.
The afternoon opened UB's way as the Bulls raced out to an 18-9 lead, which was capped off on a tip-in from senior Jarod Oldham. The Bonnies were able to get back in the contest partially in part to 20 first-half trips to the free throw line and they took a 39-38 lead into the half.
"I am just very impressed with our team and how clutch we were in the second half," said head coach Bobby Hurley. "We didn't shoot the ball well early, but we hit big shots when we needed to and we got stops on the defensive end when we really needed them."
Evans and Skeete led four players in double figures with 17 points a piece. The 17 points were a career high for the freshman Evans, who has now scored 17 and 13 points, respectively in his last two games. Skeete had a season-high in points, while also leading the Bulls in the rebounding department with six. Freelove added 13 points, while McCrea finished with 10 points despite not taking a field goal attempt in the second half.
Oldham, who was limited to 21 minutes due to foul trouble, had nine points, five assists and four rebounds. Regan added six points, five rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots. McCrea added three blocks. Junior Xavier Ford added six points off the bench.
The Bulls used clutch free throw shooting all afternoon, hitting their first 18 attempts and finishing 28-for-32 for the game. UB also had one of its best days from long range, especially in the second half where it went 6-for-11 from behind-the-arc.
UB has now won four straight games, its longest streak since the 2011-12 season.
St. Bonaventure, which fell to 6-3 on the year, was led by 16 points and 10 rebounds from Andell Cumberbatch, while Marquise Simmons also added 16 points.
The Bulls will now leave the friendly confines of Alumni Arena for the first time in nearly a month and will head downtown to the First Niagara Center where they will face Canisius on Wednesday night. The game is the second in a doubleheader that also includes Niagara vs. Davidson and will tip at approximately 8:15pm.