Wednesday's MAC Men's Basketball Results
Niagara 92, Buffalo 81
Seton Hall 78, Kent State 76
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Niagara 92, Buffalo 81
LEWISTON, NY - In a game that featured 173 points and 73 trips to the free throw line, the University at Buffalo men's basketball team fell on the short end Wednesday night at Niagara, 92-81. Senior Javon McCrea led all scorers with 31 points in the affair.
Buffalo had its only lead on the night at 5-2 just 1:30 into the contest and found itself fighting its way back into the game for the rest of the evening. The Purple Eagles went on a 12-0 run to take a 14-5 lead and increased its first-half advantage to 16, their largest lead of the game. The Bulls scored the final basket of the half on a layup from Xavier Ford as they went into the half trailing, 47-33.
The Bulls opened the second half on an 11-1 run over the first two and a half minutes, capped off on a layup from McCrea, but Niagara answered with eight straight points to regain a 12-point lead. UB again made a charge, this time using back-to-back fast break dunks from Jarod Oldham and Joshua Freelove to pull the Bulls within 71-66 with 8:12 left.
UB remained in the hunt as time continued to wind down as a pair of McCrea free throws pulled UB within 83-79 with 3:30 left. However, the Bulls would manage just two points over the final 3:30 as Niagara hit late free throws for the final margin of victory.
"We didn't get off to a very good start today and in the first half we lost the effort game," said head coach Bobby Hurley. "We gave up a lot of offensive rebounds and dug a hole for ourselves. We need to get back to the drawing board defensively and figure out a way to not let our opponent shoot such a high percentage from the field."
McCrea scored 31 points, giving him 1,512 for his career, just three points shy of moving into fourth place in school history in scoring. The Newark, NY native completed the double-double with 14 rebounds, just two shy of his career high. Nine of those rebounds came on the offensive end. He also added two blocks and three steals.
Freelove finished with a career-best 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while Ford added 10 points and five rebounds. Sophomore Jarryn Skeete added eight points and seven rebounds, while Oldham added six points and three assists.
Freshman Shannon Evans recorded his first career points on a three pointer in the opening half and he finished with five points and two rebounds.
After opening the season with two on the road, the Bulls will open a four-game homestand beginning this Saturday against West Virginia Wesleyan at 3:00 pm.
Seton Hall 78, Kent State 76
NEWARK, N.J. – A career-high 28 points by Kris Brewer and a resilient team effort wasn't enough for Kent State in a 78-76 loss to Seton Hall on Wednesday night at the Prudential Center.
Seton Hall took advantage of a slew of fouls while building double-digit leads, but the Golden Flashes battled back to take a brief 67-66 advantage on a three-pointer by Brewer with 5:05 to play.
"I couldn't be prouder of our guys," said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff. "They kept fighting. We didn't play very well in the first half, but they showed great resilience to stay in it. Kris Brewer was fantastic, and we got great minutes from young guys like Kellon Thomas and Khaliq Spicer, especially in the second half as we fought back."
Seton Hall won the game at the foul line where they converted 32-of-43 free throws compared to just 14-of-18 by Kent State. The Pirates were led by Sterling Gibbs' 20 points. Fuquan Edwin scored 19 and Patrik Auda added 15 for Seton Hall.
Brewer fouled out with 31 seconds remaining after converting 9-of-12 shots, including all of his four free throws. But even with their hottest shooter on the bench and Seton Hall trying to close out a 5-point lead, the Flashes found several opportunities to tie or take the lead before the final buzzer.
Devareaux Manley hit a 3-pointer from the left corner to pull Kent State within 2 points with 23 seconds to play to cut Seton Hall's lead to two points. After a 5-second call against the Pirates, Manley had another look from the right corner that just missed. With the Pirates up by three and nine seconds to play, Manley stepped on the sideline before the Flashes could get off another shot at a tie.
Even with the Pirates up four after hitting a free throw with six seconds to play, the Flashes still gave themselves a chance for a miracle as Thomas drove the length of the court and drew a foul as he flipped in a layup with three seconds on the clock. Thomas missed the free throw and Mark Henniger managed to get his hand on a possible tip before the Pirates finally secured the rebound and the win.
"We'll learn from this game and get better from it," said Senderoff. "I can't say enough of what Kellon Thomas did on this road trip. He was great on Monday night, too, when we won at Temple. Khaliq keeps getting better, and Chris Ortiz hit a big three-pointer to help our second-half comeback. Those are young players making key plays when we had to have them."
Thomas finished with six points and four assists and did not commit a turnover in 18 minutes off of the Kent State bench.
Spicer posted career-highs of 10 points and three blocked shots while grabbing five rebounds in 22 minutes. The 6-foot-9 sophomore was pressed into extended minutes in the post with Henniger and Melvin Tabb both forced to sit after picking up their fourth fouls early in the second half.
Kent State (2-1) returns home on Sunday to face Saint Peter's in game one of a seven-game homestand.