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College basketball: Miami (Ohio) vs. University at Buffalo - LIVE BLOG

UB forward Javon McCrea and the Bulls look to turn their fortunes against visiting Miami (Ohio).

blog by Ben Kirst  • 

Pre-game: Welcome, hoops fans, to a key early-season Mid-American Conference tilt at Alumni Arena on the University at Buffalo North Campus between East Division rivals Miami (Ohio) and our own UB Bulls. Both of the teams have struggled this season—the visiting Redhawks are 5-8 overall and 0-1 in MAC play while Buffalo is 5-10 through its first 15 games and 0-1 in conference contests, as well.

Pre-game: Anticipated starters for UB tonight are Will Regan (F), Richie Sebuharara (G), and I am sure I will enjoy typing his name quickly this evening, Jarryn Skeete (G), Javon McCrea (F) and Auraum Nuiriankh (G).Miami is expected to roll out four guards—Quinten Rollins, Allen Roberts, Reggie Johnson, Will Sullivan—and forward Will Felder. Miami is kind of a small team, with only Felder (6’7) over 6’3 in the starting lineup.

Pre-game: The Bulls are eighth in scoring offense (64.3 ppg) and scoring defense (66.2) in the MAC. UB’s .435 shooting percentage is third in the conference, and are third in rebounbding margin (+5.5), as well.

18:51 - Will Regan opens the scoring for the game, grabbing a pair of offensive boards before laying in short shot from the left. UB, 2-0. Skeete commits a foul on Felder on the opposite end of the court, and the lone big man for the Redhawks sinks both—2-2 at the 18:26 mark, when McCrea is whistled for a travel. Sullivan returns the favor on the other end, and we’re off to a bit of a sloppy start. MAC basketball, catch the fever! Then get plenty of bed rest. Right on cue, Skeete drives the baseline, gets trapped and steps out of bounds. Redhawks ball…until Sullivan slips and travels again. Yikes.

17:22 - Strong drive by Nuiriankh…but a little too strong, as he’s whistled for a charge. Roberts, a stocky little fireplug, did well to take the pain—and then he promptly drills a 3-point basket to give Miami a 5-2 lead. Regan responds with another bucket, but Felder pops a three to give the Redhawks a 8-4 advantage. Javon McCrea gets involved, stealing the ball at midcourt, setting up a 3-on-2 break and then finishing when Nuiriankh can’t finish at the rim. So much action all of the sudden! it’s 8-6,Miami, with 15:21 remaining in the first half.


15:21 - Need to pay attention to how well UB rebounds tonight. At the under-16:00 timeout, they are up on the boards, 4-3—the Bulls’ big men need to be strong. 6’11 Drew McGhee has entered the game for Miami.

14:37 - McCrea saves a lost possession when the Bulls turn the ball over in the paint and NcCrea promptly steals it back from Johnson. He turns, steps towards the bucket and is fouled, shooting two. McCrea hits one, and it’s 8-7, visitors.

14:24 - Fresh off the bench, Miami guard Geovonie McKnight throws away an entry pass for McGhee on the low block and then commits a foul on Skeete on the offensive end. Welcome to the ballgame, buddy! Sullivan is pulled from the game when he dribbles away a Redhawks break.

13:47 - Awesome high-low entry pass for McCrea, who feeds Xavier Ford under the bucket for an easy layup. Jon Harris hits a three for Miami, though, and it’s 11-9, Redhawks. Ford misses a wide-open jumper from the left wing, and Roberts knocks down another Miami three—wide open from the right arc—and it’s 14-9, Miami. The Bulls look like they’re missing some defensive assignments, as the Redhawks are finding their outside shooters a lot of space. The growing pains of a young UB team continue.

11:57 - Bulls are 4-of-14 from the field and 0-for-6 from three. Miami is 4-of-7 from the field and 4-of-6 from three. UB is up in rebounds, 7-6.

11:17 - UB is launching some bad shots—Skeete just missed a three from the top of the arc after stalling what had been good perimeter ball movement. Miami grabs the board, but turns the ball over on the ensuing possession. At 10:38, UB forward Cam Downing takes the ball on rotation near the paint to the right of the basket, and suddenly finds himself so open that he travels. Oops! Ford forces a turnover, though, and Downing redeems himself by feeding forward Raphell Thomas-Edwards for a three from the right corner. 14-12, Miami, and UB has the ball back after several bodies hit the floor beneath the Redhawks basket on a loose ball. Good hustle, boys.

9:31 - A hoop and foul on Downing and we’re tied at 14—a play set up by a nice Sebuharara offensive rebound and dish underneath. Downing hits the extra and the Bulls lead, 15-14.

9:04 - Miami’s Harris inexplicably throws the ball out of bounds at midcourt, and Ford scores on a hard drive from the left of the free throw line—Ford looks like a different player from earlier this season, much more fit and confident. 17-16, UB. Finally tapping the potential that the Cincinnati kid brought to Buffalo? Let’s hope so. McGhee drops a sweet finger roll in the offensive end for the Redhawks, but the Bulls respond again and Buffalo has the 19-16 advantage.

7:47 - Bulls are on a 10-2 run. Regan has six points, McCrea has three boards to lead UB. Roberts has six points for Miami, and Johnson has three rebounds.

7:15 - Say this for Miami—they aren’t big but they are fierce and converge like vipers under the bucket. McCrea and Regan have not had much luck in the low post. At 6:25, Felder buries a three from the right corner and Miami has tied the score at 19.

5:52 - Nice pull-up from the free-throw line for McCrea, but McGhee drives for a quick layup and we’re still tied at 21-21. AT the 7:47 break, by the way, the Redhawks had 10 turnovers and UB had six. Not great! Now, at 5:02. Tony Watson II throws a wild cross-court pass out of bounds into the media area. Oof.

4:45 - Speaking of oof, McCrea just stuffed a McGhee hook shot into the Tim Horton’s bounce house. By the way, I have a hard time believing McGhee is a legit 6’11—looks closer to 6’9. McCrea fouls McGhee on another stuff attempt, and the “big” man hits both. It’s 23-21, Miami.

4:21 - UB is godawful from three tonight, as Watson jacks another one from the left arc that caroms off the rim, out of bounds. Watson is punished when McGhee fires him to the floor on a clear-out on the other end—no call. The Bulls were 1-for-9 from three at the 7:47 break and have missed at least a couple more. Whoa, a kid just hit a half court shot for free pizza! Way to go, Rich. The arena—which looks over half full - goes wild. New stat sheet just handed to me: UB is 9-for-24 from the floor and 1-for-11 from three. Miami is 7-for-16, 5-for-9. They’ve cooled off from three a bit, but that is still the difference,

3:20 - Macho turnaround by Felder in the low post, and Corey Raley-Ross responds for UB by clanking a wild shot off the backboard beneath the rim. That’s hard to do. Roberts hits another jumper from the left side, and Miami is up, 27-21. Watson misses another three—wow, really?—and McCrea puts away the rebound. 27-23, Miami, until McKnight gets the shooter’s roll on a 15-footer, and we’re looking at 29-23, Redhawks. Ford responds in the paint—29-25, Miami.

Halftime - Well, the dog—or, in this case, a combination of our awful content management system and the awful UB guest wireless—ate my homework, so the final three minutes of the first half just disappeared into the ether. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much. Miami still leads, and they’re up, 31-25.

The Bulls are 11-for-30 from the floor (1-for-12 from three) and look genuinely overmatched at times, particularly on defense. Miami is shooting 11-for-22 and 5-for-10 from three. Rebounds are split at 15 apiece. Allen Roberts leads the Redhawks with 10 points. Reggie Johnson has a team-high three rebounds and four of Miami’s 11 turnovers.

McCrea has seven points to pace UB, while Regan and Ford each have six. McCrea has also grabbed six boards. He stepped on Will Sullivan’s face grabbing a board in the final minute, by the way—Sullivan had slipped and fell in traffic, and the mighty foot of McCrea came down on Sullivan’s cheek—but the Miami guard was fine. Richie Sebuharara and McCrea each have two assists. Tony Watson is 0-for-4 from three. But that won’t stop him from shooting, just you watch!

19:35 - Roberts continues where he left off in the first half, going hard on the right baseline for a layup and a 33-25 Miami lead.

18:30 - McCrea gets blocked by Felder, but draws a foul on Johnson when he grabs he own miss. The Bulls’ big man hits both, and it is 35-27, Miami.

17:42 - McCrea partially blocks a Felder jumper, but the UB possession ends on an errant Skeete three attempt. Quentin Rollins pops in a layup , and Miami is up, 37-27—and then 39-27 when after a train wreck of a Buffalo possession that includes multiple missed layups, a Sebuharara knuckleball from the left arc and, finally, a turnover in the front court that results in a Sullivan steal and layup. The Bulls look discouraged. Timeout, UB, at 16:19.

15:44 - Following ANOTHER brutal UB possession and ANOTHER UB timeout, the Bulls set up Downing on the low post. He spins…and clanks a two-footer off the rim. Buffalo ties up the ball on the Miami end and will take possession after the media timeout, still down by 12.

15:43 - ...and Watson travels on the inbounds play. Miami ball. But Downing grabs a steal on the entry to Downing! Maybe things are turning around. I hear there is a good football game going on, by the way.

15:02 - Well, score or no score, UB has drawn fouls on Sullivan and Roberts on this possession…

14:44 - ...and no score it is, as the Bulls miss a three. Luckily, Rollins travels. UB ball.

14:29 - Downing hits a layup. Bulls score! Bulls score! 39-29, Miami.

14:02 - Roberts drops another 12-footer, and then - after a Downing miss - Roberts scores in transition. 43-29, Redhawks, and UB turns the ball over, and Roberts drives for another basket in the paint. Roberts has officially taken over. He’s fouled in the process by Ford, and goes to the line at the 13:15 mark with a 45-29 Miami lead. But he misses the free throw! Maybe this thing is turning around.

12:33 - After Regan misses a bunny, McKnight makes the Bulls pay with a drive from the top of the key and a seven-footer. An uncontested seven-footer. By a 6’3 guard. Sigh. UB Coach Reggie Witherspoon calls yet another timeout. What is there to say? 47-29, Miami, and Buffalo turned the ball over as I typed that. Didn’t see who. Does it matter?

11:27 - Vince Legarza, a tall, chubby, jovial-looking fellow - kind of a Will Ferrell type - scores for Miami, and the Redhawks lead, 49-29, their first 20-point advantage of the night. McCrea is fouled on the Bulls’ offensive end, though, and cuts that lead to 18 with two free throws. Points on the board with the clock stopped! UB is currently shooting a frosty 37 percent, while The Redhawks are 19-of-32 from the floor. I am not great at math, but that’s well above 50%.

11:01 - McKnight to the line for Miami. Knocks down two of two. 51-31, visitors. At the 10:50 mark, Nuiriankh drives the baseline and gets fouled. Oh, good: a free-throw shooting contest. This is much more entertaining than the 35-35 ovettime NFL game. Nuiriankh hits two of two, and it’s 51-33. Chopping wood, Bulls!

10:39 - Ugh, another foul. Downing sends McGhee to the line.

(LOST DATA. THANK YOU, AWFUL TECHNOLOGY)

9:12 - Skeete…to McCrea…to Skeete…two points! It’s a five-point run for Buffalo, and it’s a 16-point game with 9:12 remaining. That’s not impossible…fans are chanting “You’re not the real Miami.”

8:05 - Downing bucket, and it’s 54-40, Miami. Do you believe? Skeete misses a three from the left corner, Downing grans the board and gets fouled…goes to the line for the one-and-one. Hits the first, hits the second. It’s a 12-point game, Downing goes to the bench for WIll Regan, and it’s 54-42, Miami.

7:06 - After a missed Miami three, Skeete heaves up an ill-advised trey of his own. But Rollins turns it over! And Ford travels. Come on.

6:24 - Miami is shooting 57% for the game, which has to cool off some time, right?

5:40 - Sullivan misses a Miami three - they’ve been ice cold - and Nuiriankh feeds McCrea from the left corner to the paint. 54-44, Miami…then Skeete steals the ball and mid-court, blows the layup (although it looks like he was pushed in the back by Rollins, no call)...Miami ball, McCrea steal, layup, foul! Misses the free throw, Skeete rebound, back to McCrea, another foul! 54-46, Miami, McCrea at line…misses the first, and the second. Those were big.

4:04 - Another McCrea layup - 54-48, Miami…arena is rocking now. Holy cow, this could happen.

3:36 - bad miss by Rollins on a jumper. Rattled? 3:21, Downing in low post, calmly spins and drops in a right-handed bank shot from five feet. IT’s 54-50, Miami. Crowd on its feet!

3:10 - Offensive foul on a push-off by McKnight, UB ball! McKnight looks genuinely shocked, and possibly rightfully so. But still. Time out…

2:57 - Nuiriankh feeds Downing in the low post, and big Cam is immediately fouled. Downing to the line, Bulls in the double-bonus. Hits the first. Johnson in the game for McKnight. Downing hits the second. 54-52, Miami.

2:24 - Miami finally gets a break. Roberts drives with the shot clock nearly on empty, and gets contact with Downing in the air beneath the basket. Roberts to the line, and hits the first. Hits the second, too. 56-52, Miami.

2:04 - Downing fed in the low post again, and Roberts fouls him. Downing has been a beast - bodies were flying when he spun on that move. Downing hits the first, and—as the arena hushes—misses the second. But Nuiriankh gets the board, and the layup! 56-55, Miami!

1:45 - Boos rain down as Nuiriankh is called for a bump on Roberts that looked suspiciously like a travel…

1:01 - McCrea, the proverbial Bull in the china shop, drives hard after a Miami miss and is fouled. Goes to the line…hits the first, AND WE ARE TIED, 56-56. Hits the second. UB leads, 57-56! Arena is electric.

25.8 - Johnson shoots and misses…and UB can’t corral the rebound. Time out, and it’s Redhawks ball. Good Lord, what a game.

7.5 - Holy cow. Rollins drive with about 10 seconds left. McCrea block. mcCrea can’t chase down the loose ball. Roberts ends up with the pill, drives…and is fouled. He’s at the line. Arena shaking. Hits front end of one-and-one—well done, Roberts—57-57. UB fans are jumping around shirtless, but not distracted. Roberts hits the second, and it’s 58-57, Miami.

4.1 - back-to-back timeouts….

0.0 - Well, that was a complete anti-climax. Nuiriankh throws a low, poorly-considered pass towards Tony Watson II, who can’t get the handle. McKnight makes the steal, dribbles off, and that’s a loss, my friends. Ugh.

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