BUFFALO, NY – Behind a 16-0 second half run, the University at Buffalo men's basketball team came from behind to defeat Bowling Green, 88-74. Junior Blake Hamilton finished with a career-high 24 points as the Bulls snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 15-12 on the year and 8-6 in MAC play.
The Bulls led by as many eight points in the opening half as Buffalo had a 16-8 lead just eight minutes into the contest. UB got a boost off the bench from sophomore Lamonte Bearden who returned to the lineup after missing the last three game. Buffalo continued to lead by six with 11:24 left when Bowling Green went on a 19-7 run to take a 33-27 advantage. The Falcons led by as many as eight in the opening half, but a late three from Hamilton put the Bulls into the break down just four, 42-38.
UB cut the Bowling Green lead to one a few times early in the second half, but the Falcons went back up by six at 67-61 with 8:45 left when UB made its game-changing run. A layup from junior Willie Conner began a 16-0 run that kept Bowling Green off the scoreboard for the next five plus minutes. 13 of the 16 points in the run came from either Conner or Hamilton. A layup by Bearden with 1:53 left gave the Bulls their largest lead of the game at 83-69. The 14-point margin was also the final margin of victory.
"We needed that win in a bad way," said head coach Nate Oats, who became just the third head coach in school history to win 15 games in his first season. "I thought we played pretty well for most of the first half, but then we had a little lapse there towards the end of the half. Early in the second half we couldn't get anything going and we struggled guarding them so we made some adjustments. Having Bearden back today helped out in a big way and it helped us move the ball on offense."
Hamilton led all scorers with a career-high 24 points as he went 9-of-15 from the floor. Hamilton added seven rebounds, two assists and tied his career-high with four steals.
Bearden finished with 16 points and a game-high six assists, while freshman CJ Massinburg had 15 points and a pair of steals. Conner finished with 14 points as he went 7-of-8 from the free throw line.
Senior Jarryn Skeete, who was honored before the game as the Len Serfustini Scholarship recipient, had eight points and three rebounds. Fellow senior Rodell Wigginton had five points and six rebounds.
The Bulls shot just under 50% for the game and went 25-of-33 from the free throw line. Buffalo had 12 turnovers, but just three of those came in the second half. Bowling Green shot 54.4% from the field, but struggled both behind the arc (28.6%) and from the charity stripe (53.3%). The Bulls also forced the Falcons into 18 turnovers.
UB remains home on Tuesday night when the Bulls host Kent State at Alumni Arena. The game will tip off at 6:00 pm.