February 19, 2014

Bulls Overcome Second-Half Slump to Beat Kent State

KENT, OH - For its second straight game, the Buffalo women's basketball team needed a late rally to pull out the win, this time coming in the final four minutes in a 61-53 win at Kent State. Alexus Malone would score 10 of her 12 points in the final four minutes of play to help drive the comeback and overcome a 6-21 shooting performance in the final 20 minutes.

Mackenzie Loesing would score the first basket of the second half following a 37-27 lead at the break, but the team would then go scoreless for five minutes of game time that allowed the Flashes (5-19, 2-11 MAC) to get within five points. After Karin Moss hit a basket with 13:37 still to go, the Bulls (15-9, 8-5 MAC) would go even colder from the field and score just four points from then until the four-minute mark. By that point, the home side had driven ahead for its first lead of the game, leading by as much as three points.

Down 48-45 just before the final media timeout of the game, UB would insert Malone back in with four fouls that had limited her to just under 15 minutes of action to that point. She would cut it to one point with a jumper that would key a 14-2 run from the 4:05 mark until 36 seconds were left. In the midst of that run, Malone would account for eight of those points and the team would hit all eight of its free throws to break the Flashes hopes of a home win.

While Buffalo would hit just six field goals from the floor, it would make up for it with a 12-13 performance at the free throw line in the second half. In the game, UB would make 15-17, with the 88.2 success rate setting a new season high that bests the 78.6 percent day the team had against Ball State.

Along with the offensive struggles, Kent State was able to win the rebounding battle 40-27. The Bulls would find its key to evening out the wide margin by forcing a season-high 29 turnovers and turning them directly into 27 points. Of those 29 turnovers, 14 came on steals, the most in a game since picking off 14 against St. Bonaventure on Dec. 17.

Malone was the star late, but the team also benefitted from a strong bench effort that was led by Karin Moss and Ayana Bradley. The two combined for 10 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals.

With the win, the Bulls remain in fourth overall in the MAC, owning a tiebreaker with Toledo who is also 8-5. The eight wins for Buffalo matches its total from the entire 2012-13 conference season, and the seven road wins are tied for the most since the 2007-08 season and are just one shy of matching the team's total road victories over the previous two seasons combined.

The team returns home in advance of a big home game coming up on Saturday, hosting Bowling Green at 2 pm. The conference-leading Falcons won the season opener against UB on its home court to open the conference season on Jan. 4.