The Buffalo men’s basketball team shot a season-low 32.2 percent from the floor on Wednesday night, losing at Tulsa (8-6) 63-57 in the team’s final non-conference game of the season. Javon McCrea led the team with 22 points and 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the season, and Will Regan chipped in 13 for UB (5-8).
“We did somethings well, but we didn’t sustain them, and a lot of that goes to concentration,” head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “And obviously we didn’t shoot the ball well, but they didn’t shoot it well either. It was one of those games that you knew was going to go down to the wire. We got some looks late that we didn’t convert.”
The game started on a poor note, with the team spoiling its first eight possessions with five missed shots and a trio of turnovers to lead to a 9-0 deficit at the first media timeout. The team would respond though, and charge back with an 8-2 run over the following four minutes. From that point on, neither team would lead by more than seven points until the final minute of regulation.
McCrea was unstoppable in the first half, scoring 13 points in 13 minutes over the half, hitting 5-8 shots while the rest of the team would go only 4-16 in the first 20 minutes. Fortunately, Tulsa would do no better, taking just a 26-24 lead to the locker room after turning the ball over nine times and hitting just 11 of 28 shots.
A three pointer by Richie Sebuharara in the team’s first possession of the second half gave the team its first lead. Buffalo would hold Tulsa at an arm’s length for the next ten minutes of the game before the Golden Hurricane would use a 9-0 run to take the lead back for good with a 49-43 advantage with just over six minutes left in the game.
The second half was marred by fouls on both teams, with Tulsa shooting in the bonus just over six minutes into the half, throwing the pace of the game off for both teams. After shooting under 50 percent from the charity stripe over the past two games, it was free throw shooting that would keep Buffalo in the game, as it hit 15-20 for the game while the Hurricane made 15 on 28 attempts.
McCrea would find himself a victim of triple teams for the second half, and instead turned to rebounding to get his third double-double of the year, scoring nine points and getting seven rebounds in the final half of action. Regan would step in with eight points and five rebounds in support of his frontcourt mate, and Regan and Tony Watson hit three pointers late in the game to keep Buffalo in contention.
Ultimately, Tulsa would hold off the Bulls thanks to 23 free throw attempts in the second half alone, and used 11 second-half offensive rebounds to drain the clock.
The game was tied at 51 with three minutes left in the game, and the Bulls picked a bad time to go cold again, missing five straight shots while Tulsa score nine unanswered points until Buffalo would score again with 21 seconds left with the game all but settled.
The Bulls will now enter the Mid-American Conference season, with defending conference champion Ohio up first for the team. Buffalo will travel to Athens next Wednesday for a 7 pm tip.