The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team utilized one of its finest defensive efforts of the season to defeat Toledo, 75-60, at Alumni Arena on Wednesday night to snap the Rockets’ five game winning streak.
Tony Watson scored a career-high 24 points, including a career-best six three-pointers to lead all scorers. After missing his first two three-point attempts, the senior guard connected on his next 6-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc.
Javon McCrea pulled down a career-best 16 rebounds to go along with 14 points, three assists, four blocks and a steal. The junior forward had his eighth double-double of the season by halftime with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Jarryn Skeete was the third UB player to reach double-figures in scoring with 17 points and added five rebounds and three assists.
Buffalo (10-15, 5-6 MAC) shot 52 percent from the field, including 50 percent from beyond the arc (9-for-18). The Bulls made 6-of-9 three-point attempts in the second half.
While there were a lot of gaudy offensive numbers, Buffalo won this game with its defense. The Bulls held the Rockets to just 32.4 percent shooting from the field and had eight blocked shots.
“Overall, that was our best team defensive effort of the season,” head coach Reggie Witherspoon said.
Toledo (11-11, 7-4 MAC) came into the game featuring the MAC’s leading scorer Rian Pearson, who was averaging 18.6 points per game. Auraum Nuiriankh played exceptional defense and held the Toledo guard to 10 points on just 3-of-12 shooting.
Buffalo jumped out to a 9-3 lead and held that advantage for much of the game. UB finished the half on a 14-3 scoring run to turn a one-point deficit into a 35-25 halftime lead.
The Bulls stayed hot to open the second half and built their lead to 55-33 with 11:41 remaining in the game. Twice the Rockets made runs to close the gap and both times Watson silenced the threat with a three-pointer. His second three put UB ahead 67-52 with 4:52 left.
Buffalo pulled down 40 rebounds – its most in a MAC game this season.
The Bulls have concluded play against MAC West Division teams and will begin the final stretch of the season at Miami (OH) on Saturday afternoon.