God, you have to feel for the Bulls. A three-point home loss to Bowling Green. Now a three-point road loss in Miami. Based on the nonconference swing, they oughta had both of these games. But, hey, we ultimately expected a crapshoot between the six teams in the MAC East.
And we could sit here and analyze all the reasons why Miami is a force to respect in basketball this year, and why UB is a team adorned with fool's gold. But really, the difference here was a made 3-pointer at the end by Nick Winbush. That's it. Because both teams were careless with the ball all night. With Buffalo committing 18 turnovers and Miami 20, that means there was about a turnover every minute, or one for every 3.7 trips down a particular side of the basketball court. Both shot well inside and at the free throw line.
While Winbush's third three of the night made him finish with 15 — he subsequently fouled out on the next possession — it was Julian Mavunga who did the grunt work: 21 points and seven rebounds. Antonio Ballard was the only guard on the floor who wasn't supremely guarded, as he also ended up with 15 points, seven rebounds, and three steals.
What kept UB in the game, despite their struggling guards, was their bench demon, Javon McCrea. He was the only guy on the team who scored more than six points (a total hit by four players, and three others had five). Way more, in fact: how about 26 on for size? Nine rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks were also in his modified horoscope.
The most disappointing part, however, has been a scarcity of Charlie Coles memorable quotes. Damn, even he had an off-night.
This puts both teams at the opposite ends of the division. Miami is at 2-0, while Buffalo falls to 0-2. MACness resumes Saturday with three matchups:
2:00 p.m. — Central Michigan at Ball State
4:30 p.m. — Toledo at Northern Illinois
7:00 p.m. — Kent State at OHIO