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MAC MEN'S BASKETBALL FINALS SUNDAY

December 30, 2013
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



Buffalo 55, Drexel 52
PHILADELPHIA, PA – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team picked up its first true road victory of the year on Sunday afternoon, outscoring the host Drexel Dragons 35-28 in the second half en route to a 55-52 win.  The victory is UB's second straight and improves its record to 6-4 heading into the final non-conference game of the season on Friday.
 
It was a slow start offensively for both teams in the first half as the two squads combined to shoot just 15-of-57 from the floor.  Drexel led by as many as eight in the opening half at 22-14 with 4:36 remaining, but UB ended the half on a quick 6-2 run, including a put-back basket from sophomore Justin Moss as time expired, which pulled UB within 24-20 at the break.
 
The Bulls scored the first four points of the second half to tie the game up and neither team had more than a five-point lead until Drexel regained a five-point advantage at 39-34 with 11:42. Despite the Bulls hitting just one three pointer to that point, sophomore Jarryn Skeete calmly knocked down a triple pulling the Bulls back within two.  Buffalo held on to a 49-48 lead when four straight points from senior Javon McCrea gave UB a 53-48 lead, tying for its largest lead of the game.
 
Drexel cut the lead to 54-52 and had the ball late, but missed a three-pointer with three seconds left as senior Joshua Freelove took in the rebound with just 0.2 second left.  He made the first before missing the second intentionally to end the game.
 
"We scheduled this game because we have a lot of respect for Drexel and the way they play and we thought this game would prepare us well for our conference season," said head coach Bobby Hurley.  "I was really proud of how our guys played defense and while the offense wasn't pretty for a majority of the game, I thought Javon McCrea really made things difficult for them in the second half."
 
McCrea finished with 20 points despite picking up three first-half fouls and playing just 27 minutes.  He had 16 of his points in the second half as he also finished with nine rebounds and two blocks.  No other player scored in double figures.  Junior Will Regan finished with seven points and a career-high 10 rebounds, including nine on the defensive end.  Regan also drew a big charge late in the game to help cement the victory.
 
Freshman Shannon Evans finished with six points, hitting a pair of big three pointers in the second half.  Senior Jarod Oldham had four points, five rebounds and a game-high eight assists.  Freelove had five points and a season-high four assists.  Moss and junior Xavier Ford also finished with five points.
 
Drexel fell to 8-4, losing at home for the first time this season.  This is also just of one two losses for the Dragons that came to opponents that were not nationally ranked.  The 52 points scored were the fewest the Bulls have allowed all season and the fewest that Drexel had scored in a game this year.
 
The UB defense held Drexel to a 1-for-14 performance from three-point range, including 0-for-8 from leading scorer Chris Fouch.
 
The Bulls close out non-conference play at home on Friday night when they host South Dakota State.  Tip off is set for 7pm.
 
Miami 67, Southern Illinois 65
OXFORD, Ohio – Senior forward Will Felder’s jumper with 22 seconds left put the Miami University men’s basketball team up for good in a back-and-forth 67-65 win over Southern Illinois on Sunday at Millett Hall.
 
The RedHawks (4-6) also welcomed Willie Moore to the court for the first time, with the sophomore guard’s 14 points tying for the team lead.
 
Freshman forward Joshua Oswald opened the scoring by canning a 3-pointer and tapping in a missed shot to put the RedHawks up 5-0 early on. That lead disappeared quickly with the Salukis countering with an 11-0 run to go up 11-5 with 12:39 left in the opening frame.
 
The game of runs continued with an 11-2 MU surge to put the Red and White ahead 16-13 with 8:16 showing on the clock. Junior guard Will Sullivan’s 3-pointer with 9:06 left in the half put MU back in front during that surge. An SIU basket cut MU’s lead to one, but the RedHawks answered with a 7-1 spurt to grab a 23-16 lead with under five minutes to go in the first half.
 
SIU appeared to cut the gap to two heading into halftime when Bronson Verhines made a layup with seven seconds left in the half, but freshman guard Jaryd Eustace hit a running half court shot at the buzzer to give the RedHawks a 34-29 lead at the break.
 
A 6-2 Saluki spurt pulled them within 36-35 early in the second half. The RedHawks responded with layups from sophomore guard Geovonie McKnight and senior guard Quinten Rollins to move back ahead by five points, but the Salukis came right back with consecutive hoops to pull within a point once again. A Desmar Jackson put back put SIU up 43-42 with 14:39 showing on the clock, its first lead of the second half.
 
Moore’s three-point play gave the RedHawks the lead right back at 45-43 in this seesaw affair. An Oswald free throw extended the lead to three points, but the Salukis scored five in a row to regain the advantage at 48-46. The Red and White countered with a pair of Rollins free throws and a Moore layup to grab a 50-48 lead midway through the final regulation period. That lead did not last long, with SIU scoring six in a row to take a 54-50 lead with 8:35 remaining, forcing MU into a timeout.
 
A pair of McKnight free throws capped a 7-2 Miami spurt that gave the Red and White a 57-56 lead with just over five minutes to play. One minute later, Anthony Beane’s 3-pointer put the Salukis back ahead. McKnight hit a trey of his own on the following Miami possession for the 10th lead change of the night, making it 60-59 in favor of the RedHawks.
 
SIU’s Beane made the lead change hands again, though Moore tied the score with a free throw eight seconds later. The Salukis grabbed the lead right back when Desmar Jackson drove to the hoop for a dunk and made a jumper with 1:21 left to make it 65-61.
 
Undeterred, Moore started the RedHawks’ final surge by making his only three of the game to draw them within a point. Still, the Red and White needed a stop and got it when Felder swatted Anthony Beane’s shot away. MU fed Felder in the paint and he scored over his defender, his shot from the paint popping straight up in the air before falling in to put the RedHawks ahead 66-65. His bucket represented the 12th lead change of the night.
 
Nursing a one-point lead, Rollins recorded a steal and was instantly fouled. Rollins split his free throws with six seconds left, extending the lead to 67-65. The Salukis put the ball in the hands of Jackson, who scored a game-high 27 points. He drove down the right side and pulled up for a jumper from 12 feet out, but the shot rattled off the back rim and the RedHawks secured the rebound as time expired to pull out the win.
 
The RedHawks shot 49 percent from the field and made 7-of-18 (38.9 percent) of their 3-pointers. The Salukis countered with 45.2 percent shooting, but went 3-of-17 (17.6 percent) from deep. SIU held a 34-30 edge in rebounding and committed slightly fewer turnovers (14 to Miami’s 16).
 
Moore was one of three RedHawks to score in double figures and tied McKnight for the team lead with 14 points. Eustace tallied 10 first-half points as well while Felder fell just shy of a double-double with nine points and nine boards.
 
MU travels to No. 23/22 Massachusetts for its next game on Saturday, Jan. 4. Opening tip is at 7 p.m.
 
Wright State 46, Bowling Green 43
Dayton, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University men's basketball team held Wright State to only 20 points over the final 20 minutes of play and to 0-of-13 (0 percent) from the three-point line for the game, yet struggled to overcome both a slow start and 21 turnovers in a 46-43 non-conference road loss at the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio on Sunday afternoon.
 
Bowling Green held the Raiders to only one point over the final 4:09 of the contest, yet saw its three-point attempt to tie the game up in the closing seconds miss long to allow Wright State to sneak away with the three-point, 46-43, win.
 
The loss snaps the Falcons winning streak at three and puts Bowling Green back out .500 at 6-6 on the season. The win pushes Wright State to 8-0 on the season at home and 8-7on the year overall.
 
Bowling Green got a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds from Richaun Holmes, his second of the season, and 11 points from fellow starting forward Spencer Parker to lead the Falcons' offense.
 
Fellow starters Jehvon Clarke and Anthony Henderson added seven and five points apiece, while center Cameron Black had four points on 2-of-3 shooting from the floor for the game. Henderson pulled down a career-high nine rebounds in the loss.
 
The Raiders were led by AJ Pacher's 14 points, to go along with nine rebounds, while off the bench Miles Dixon chipped in with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor in 26 minutes of play.
 
In what was a slow start on the offensive end for both teams, the Falcons got a two-handed dunk from Holmes and a put back layup from Black to tie the score up at 6-6 with 13:42 to go in the opening half.
 
Following a rebound and layup from Henderson minutes later to give Bowling Green its first lead of the contest at the 13 minute mark, the two teams tied the game up three more times before an 8-3 run by the home standing Raiders pushed Wright State out to a 22-17 lead on back-to-back layups from Reggie Arceneaux and Kendall Griffin with just under three minutes to play before the half.
 
BGSU got a hard-fought driving layup from Parker to end the run, yet failed to score over the final 2:40 of the opening half to go into the halftime break down seven at 26-19.
 
The 19 points matched the lowest first half total (Saint Louis) for the Falcons on the year, as BG was 8-of-22 (36.4 percent) from the floor overall, but was hampered by 11 first half turnovers.
 
Bowling Green continued to mishandle the ball on the offensive end to start the second half and saw the Raiders pull out to a double digit lead at 33-22 on back-to-back free throws from Pacher with 15:48 to go in regulation.
 
After a mid-range jumper from Dixon less than a minute later pushed the Raiders lead to 13 with 14:56 to play, a tough layup from Parker down the right side of the lane ended the 7-3 run by Wright State, only to see the Raiders get a three-point play minutes later to take its largest lead of the game at 14 points, 38-24, with 11:23 to go in regulation.
 
Parker would again make good on a contested layup 30 seconds later, while Clarke hit a three-pointer from the top of the key to quick start a 13-5 run, capped off by a dunk from Holmes, to cut the Raiders lead to five at 42-37 with 5:40 to go in the contest.
 
The two teams would trade points over the next few minutes, until an old-fashion three-point play from Holmes with just over two minutes left put the Falcons down just three at 45-42.
 
Holmes, who scored the final eight points of the game for the Falcons over the last 5:40 of the game, would hit 1-of-2 free throws with 1:46 to go on the game clock to put Bowling Green down just two at 45-43.
 
Wright State, who had not scored since the 4:09 mark during the Falcons late charge, saw Dixon hit 1-of-2 free throws with 9.2 seconds on the game clock to put the home team in front by three at 46-43.
 
Bowling Green saw its last second three-point attempt to tie the game hit off the back rim, as the Raiders escaped with the 46-43 home win.
 
The Falcons were outscored 19-1 in bench points and 30-18 in points in the paint.
 
The 43 points is the lowest scoring total output this season for the Falcons, who shot 43.6 percent (17of-39) from the floor for the game.
 
Bowling Green (6-6) will conclude its 2013-14 non-conference slate on Thursday, Jan.2, as the Falcons will host IPFW at 7 p.m. in the Stroh Center.

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