BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo men's basketball team put forth its most complete offensive performance of the season on Wednesday night as they defeated Western Michigan, 84-63, in front of 3,052 fans at Alumni Arena. The Bulls placed five players in double figures as they improved to 11-6 on the year and 5-2 in MAC play.
The two teams started off slowly as Western Michigan led 7-4 six minutes into the game. However, a quick line change made by head coach Bobby Hurley gave the Bulls a new sense of urgency and a new found energy that began a 29-9 run, putting the Bulls ahead 33-16 with 5:18 left in the first half. The run was ignited by the play of freshman Shannon Evans, who made pinpoint passes and smart decisions as he finished with 10 points and five assists in the first half. The play that really capped it off was a pair of no-look behind-the-back passes from senior Jarod Oldham and Evans, which landed in the hands of sophomore Justin Moss, who finished the play. Moss had his best game of his young Buffalo career, which included eight points and six rebounds in the first half. The Bulls took a 39-25 lead into the half, but came out of the break with the same energy.
The second stanza began with a thunderous dunk from senior Javon McCrea, who scored the first four points of the half. Western Michigan made a second-half run and pulled within 10 on two occasions, but Evans answered with a three pointer, which began an 8-0 UB run. The Bulls increased their second half lead to a game-high 22 points as Moss hit a pair of free throws and the Bulls went on to win by a final score of 84-63.
"Great win for our program," said Hurley. "Western [Michigan] is going to beat a lot of teams in the league and they are a good offensive team. I thought we started out a little flat and we picked it up. The intensity on defense got better and we got great contributions from a lot of players tonight."
McCrea led the way with 20 points, his third straight 20-point night. He added six rebounds and three assists, despite playing just 25 minutes due to foul trouble. He was picked up by Moss, who finished the evening with 14 points and six rebounds in 17 minutes.
Evans had one of his best overall games, finishing with 17 points and a career-high seven assists, adding three rebounds and just two turnovers. Senior Joshua Freelove scored 14 points, all in the second half, while junior Will Regan had 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Despite scoring just two points, Oldham still had an excellent night, finishing with a game-high eight assists and just one turnover, while adding five rebounds and four steals. The UB bench scored a season-high 34 points as freshman Deyshonee Much added a three-pointer. The Bulls played all 10 healthy players as they also got solid contributions from seniors Auraum Nuiriankh and Corey Raley-Ross.
As a team, the Bulls shot over 50% for the second straight game and tonight UB outrebounded WMU by a margin of 41-27. The Bulls had 15 offensive rebounds on the night.
The victory over the Broncos is UB's 16th straight against MAC West opponents at Alumni Arena.
UB hits the road this weekend and will meet a MAC East school for just the second time this year, heading to Bowling Green on Sunday afternoon. The game will tip at 2:00 pm.