BUFFALO, NY – Playing at the First Niagara Center for the first time since 2004, the University at Buffalo men's basketball team lost to Canisius, 69-55, on Wednesday night – snapping its four-game win streak. The Golden Griffins outscored the Bulls, 43-20, in the second half to erase an 11-point deficit and earn the victory.
The Bulls (4-3) had three players score in double-figures, led Javon McCrea who finished with 13 points and six rebounds. Joshua Freelove scored 11 points, including a trio of three-pointers and Will Regan added 10 points.
UB led throughout the opening 20 minutes of action thanks to a hot shooting performance that saw UB shoot 57 percent from the field and 60 percent from three-point range. Eight different players found the scoring column in the first half.
The Bulls continued their solid play into the second half and a Shannon Evans jumper with 10:54 left gave UB a 51-43 lead. It was at that point Canisius switched to a zone defense and it seemed to stymie the Bulls' offensive attack. The Griffs outscored the Bulls, 26-4, down the stretch to pull away for the victory. A once red-hot UB team shot just 2-of-16 from the field down the stretch.
Canisius outscored UB 32-24 in the paint and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds which led to 19 second chance points. There was a large discrepancy in free throw shooting as Canisius went to the charity stripe 25 times, compared to just eight trips for the Bulls.
Xavier Ford scored seven points in 10 minutes for the Bulls. Evans had a career-high six assists to go along with his four points.
"For large stretches early I thought we had a pretty good control of the game and then it just started to slip away from us," said head coach Bobby Hurley. "We stopped playing defense the way we needed to and give Canisius credit for having players step up late in the game."
The Bulls return to the road next Saturday as they face Manhattan at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, NY. Part of a college hoops tripleheader, the game tips off at 3:00 pm.