Both teams came into Saturday's contest desperate for a victory. Buffalo, losers of three straight needed this win to help secure a first round bye in Cleveland. Bowling Green came into the contest riding a six game losing streak. The Falcons were looking to prove that their hot start this season was no fluke, and that they are a better team than their record indicates.
This game started out slow as fouls and poor shooting plagued both offenses early on. Coming out of the U-16 timeout, Buffalo started to gain confidence and drive the lane on the porous Falcon defense.
Around the thirteen minute mark in the first half, Bowling Green switched from a man defense to a 2-3 zone. Michael Huger wanted to slow down Buffalo drivers and limit fouls. This 2-3 zone really slowed down the Buffalo offense and forced the Bulls to look to outside shots, rather then Buffalo's preferred attack-the-basket offense.
When Buffalo was attacking the basket, they were going up strong and forcing Bowling Green to foul Bulls players. In the first half Buffalo shot 15 free-throws as opposed to Bowling Green's 4 free-throw attempts. The Falcons committed 14 fouls before the half-time intermission. This proved to be a problem all game long as the Bulls ended with 33 free-throws as opposed to the 15 shot by Bowling Green.
Coming out in the second half, the Bulls looked much more comfortable attacking the Bowling Green zone. For the first ten minutes of the half both teams were exchanging baskets. With less than eight minutes Bowling Green held a slim 67-65 lead. From that point on Buffalo would torch the momentum Bowling Green held and silence the Falcons. The Bulls ended the game on a 23-7 run.
Buffalo's big run was sparked by the play of junior guard Blake Hamilton. Around the seven minute mark he was on the receiving end of a technical foul. After the play he slapped the ball away from Falcons guard Antwon Lillard. The players exchanged words before they were both hit with technical fouls. Hamilton came back from off the bench well to aid Buffalo in securing the victory. Hamilton finished with a career-high 24 points.
Another key during the big run was the Bulls defense. They finished strong and made all Bowling Green shots late in the game very difficult. They also were able to create turnovers which lead to baskets in transition for Buffalo. Despite Bowling Green shooting 54 percent from the field, Buffalo created 18 turnovers.
Bowling Green fans will look back on this game and remember the performances of Spencer Parker and Zack Denny. The Falcons Spencer Parker played a great game and finished with 21 points and 4 rebounds. Denny tallied 15 points and 9 rebounds in a tough loss.
Up next for Bowling Green is a return home to play the Ohio Bobcats on Tuesday night. Hopefully Bowling Green can play like they did in the first 35 minutes of the Buffalo contest. They really were playing solid up until late in this game. On the other hand, Buffalo is staying home for a match-up with Kent State.