The pretty sure the Bowling Green Falcons are missing their west division opponents about right now. The Buffalo Bulls came into the Stroh Center on Saturday afternoon and handed the Falcons their second straight home loss, 68-56.
The loss was also the Falcon's second straight loss to a fellow Mid-American Conference east team. Just a week ago, Bowling Green completed their schedule of games against the west division with a convincing, 79-65 win against Ball State. The Falcons finished 5-1 against the west and would have been the number one seed if the MAC tournament had started this week.
Unfortunately for Bowling Green, the season had three more weeks to go. Now, back-to-back home losses leave the Falcons at 9-5 in the MAC and 17-8 overall. The Bulls improve to 8-6 and 17-9 on the year after notching their second consecutive road win. The Falcons are now one game behind east leading Kent State, while the Bulls are just two games back. With the Akron Zips also in the mix, it should be a wild finish in the MAC east the final two weeks.
On Saturday, the Bulls used pressure defense coupled with good three-point and free throw shooting to dispatch the Falcons. Buffalo pressured the Falcons into bad shots and turnovers in the first half, while racing to a lead of 17 at one point. The Bulls did take a 36-22 lead at intermission.
The Bulls went almost five minutes without scoring early in the second half, but the Falcons also couldn't do much during that stretch and Buffalo still had a 44-33 lead with 13 minutes left in the game. You figured the Falcons would make a run and they finally did on the strength of two Delvin Dickerson three-pointers. Then, a pair of free throws and a jumper by Jehvon Clarke actually gave the Falcons the lead 49-48 with 7:15 to play.
The Bowling Green lead didn't last long, as the Bulls took the lead back less than a minute later on two free throws from Jarryn Skeete. Buffalo would not trail again in the game. Buffalo would outscore the Falcons 18-7 the rest of the way to cruise to the victory. The Bulls were 13 of 13 from the free throw line during that stretch and finished 19-23 (84%) for the game.
Shannon Evans led the Bulls in scoring with 19 points, including five three-pointers. Skeete and Justin Moss both added 15 for Buffalo. The Bulls finished 9 of 17 (53%) from behind the arc on the afternoon. Moss also had a game-high 12 rebounds as the Bulls dominated the Falcons on the boards 43-31.
The Falcons were led by Richuan Holmes, who had 15 points, seven rebounds and five blocks. Other Falcons scoring in double figures were Clarke (12), Spencer Parker (11) and Dickerson (10). Bowling Green had another dismal game from the three point line, going just 4 of 20 (20%).
The Falcons will travel to Athens to take on the Ohio Bobcats on Tuesday night. Buffalo will return home the same night to face Akron in a key east division match-up. But at this point of the season, they are all key games for the top teams in the east.
|Player||Buffalo ||Bowling Green
|Points||J. Skeete (15)||R. Holmes (15)|
|Rebounds||J. Moss (12)||R. Holmes (7)|
|Assists||L. Bearden (4)||A. Henderson (3)|
|Blocks||J. Moss (1)||R. Holmes (5)|
|Steals||W. Regan (2)||Z, Denney (1)|