I mean, it was fun while it lasted. It really was. Finishing the regular season on an exciting note and beating the 6-seed Ball State Cardinals in the opening round, the Miami RedHawks punched a ticket to Cleveland but would fall to no. 3 Buffalo Bulls 94-81.
While effective defense could've helped slow down the Bulls, Miami just didn't hit their shots. Star players couldn't hold up their end of the bargain, collectively shooting 37.7 percent from the field while Buffalo made half of their shots. The Bulls would also be able to out-rebound Miami on both ends of the court for a final tally of 47 to 35.
Neither Geovonie McKnight nor Rodney Mills could get get anything going in shooting. McKnight's seven free throw makes hinted that he'd find a groove in his stroke to maybe translate to the field, but that just wouldn't be the case. McKnight had one jumper late in the first half then another pair of shots late in the second, but aside from the three makes, they'd combine for 17 misfires.
Buffalo went to the locker room at halftime with a 6-point lead, despite shooting at a much higher percentage than the RedHawks, but UB came out firing from behind the arc to hold a steady 3-and-4-possesion lead. Willie Conner would get a pair of 3-pointers to open up the second half, as well as a pair from Jarryn Skeete and one from Lamonte Bearden to get up to as much as 15 points. Nearing four minutes left in the half, Conner would hit his sixth 3-pointer of the night to give UB 81-64 lead.
Blake Hamilton had a big night as well. Seven assists in total, found Conner for three 3-pointers in the first half. He'd also grab 16 rebounds (13 defensive), and hit a pair of free throws at the end of the game to end up with a double-double (11 points) for the night.
Had there been more support, Dion Wade and Abdoulaye Harouna's 3-point shooting efforts might've been a bigger factor for the 'Hawks. The two both hit four a piece, but Eric Washington missed both of his attempts, three of Mills' nine missed shots were from behind the arc, and Kalif Wright was the only other MU player to make a 3-pointer, but it was with 25 seconds left and they were still down by double digits.
Buffalo advances to the semifinals where they'll play the Ohio Bobcats for a third time this year, where Ohio has already won in both of those contests.