MT. PLEASANT, MI – Senior Javon McCrea had a career night with 25 points and a career-best 20 rebounds as the Bulls defeated Central Michigan, 79-70, Saturday night at McGuirk Arena. The victory improves the Bulls to 13-7 and 7-3 in conference play, tying their MAC win total from last season.
While McCrea was dominant, he got some help from freshman Shannon Evans in the first half as the duo combined to score 31 of UB's 39 first-half points. Evans had a stretch in the opening half where he scored 11 straight. However, the Chippewas continued to lead 28-26 with 6:12 left in the half, when the Bulls made a run getting six straight points from McCrea. The Bulls went on to take a five-point advantage following two free throws from Evans and went on to take a 39-36 lead into the half.
The Bulls continued to lead by just three, 42-39, when they went on a 20-5 run to break the game open. The final four points came on fast-break layups from senior Jarod Oldham. The 62-44 lead was the largest of the game for UB. The Chippewas, who hit 11 three-pointers on the night, stayed in the game with their long-range shooting, but never pulled any closer than seven. The Bulls capped off the victory with a minute left when Joshua Freelove threw down a huge one-handed dunk to put the Bulls up 13.
McCrea became the first UB player to go for 20 points and 20 rebounds since Feb. 13, 2007 when Yassin Idbihi finished with 28 points and 20 rebounds in an overtime victory against Bowling Green. The 20 rebounds are tied for eighth in a single game and tied for the most in the modern era. McCrea went 12-of-22 from the floor and pulled down 15 defensive rebounds. He also added an assist and two blocks.
McCrea paced four players in double figures as Evans finished with 19 points, 15 of those in the first half. He went 6-for-8 from the free throw line and added five rebounds, two assists, a block and two steals. Oldham added 11 points, all in the second half, adding five assists and three steals. Freelove finished with 10 points, while junior Will Regan added nine points and two rebounds.
The Bulls shot 51.8% for the night, including 52.0% in the second half. UB also outrebounded Central Michigan, 40-27, highlighted by McCrea's 20.
Central Michigan was led by 17 points each from Blake Hibbitts and Chris Fowler. The Bulls have now completed play against the MAC West with a 6-2 mark against the division.
UB will face MAC East opponents for the rest of the way, beginning on Wednesday night at Miami (OH). Tip off is at 7:00 pm.