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UB Bulls vs. Miami (OH) live-blog

Photo courtesy of Don Nieman from Ohio game

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Final—Buffalo clinches a first round bye with the win today. That’s an accomplishment in itself. 28 points is a career-high for Mitchell Watt.

——————Final, 84-74 Buffalo——————

:07—Watt hits the second, and then Corey Raley-Ross steals the inbounds and coasts in for the finger roll.

:34—“I believe that we have won” is the chant from the UB student section, a reassuring sign for the Bulls after last week’s debacle. Jon Harris knocks in a three, then Will Sullivan makes a steal and draws a foul on Watt. He hits the first and the second. 81-74 Buffalo. 27 on the night for Mitchell Watt, and he has a chance for two more from the line. First is no good.

1:44—Filzen cans the first from the line and the second. Bucket by Jon Harris off the window, and Miami continues to trap hard on the inbounds. Buffalo breaks it again without too much issue, and Filzen and Barnett use some of the shot clock. A little showmanship from Jarod Oldham, who looked off his defender, and sent a bullet pass to Watt for a jam. Brian Sullivan drains a three from 26-feet in response, but Oldham hits one of two from the line.

2:34—Sullivan oddly misses the free throw. I don’t really know why excellent three point shooters struggle from the line sometimes, but it seems to be the case. Oldham wriggles out of a double team, finds Watt, who shifts the ball to McCrea at the opposite block for a lay-in. Quinten Rollins barges down the floor for a bucket, but Buffalo’s lead is 10 with under two minutes to play.

2:39—Under four timeout, 71-62 Buffalo. 13-21 is Buffalo’s second half shooting, a white-hot 62%. Miami’s only 1-8 from downtown in the second half after hitting six of 12 in the first half. These stats really have made the difference.

2:48—Buffalo earns its first double-digit lead of the game with a 17-footer by Watt, but Brian Sullivan coasts down the left wing, scores a floater and draws McCrea’s fourth foul.

3:45—Timeout, Miami. 69-60 Buffalo—it’s the Bulls’ largest lead. Airballed three by Jon Harris, and Zach Filzen is unopposed for the rebound. Timeout, Buffalo. McCrea checks in for Titus Robinson. 23 points for Watt to lead the Bulls, 20 for Mavunga to pace the Redhawks. The Bulls opened the second half shooting a ridiculous 10-16, and that shooting spree is a major reason why Buffalo has taken the game by a stranglehold.

4:21—McCrea misses a gimme lay-up, but Mavunga oddly tries a three from the top of the key. Easy board by McCrea, and a poor trip for the ‘Hawks. Jarod Oldham takes a swing pass from McCrea who was stationed on the baseline, and the sophomore guard calmly steps into a three and drills it. Huge shot!

5:03 —Steal by Oldham, but then Watt charges into the heart of Mavunga. Sounds the opposite of romantic. That’s Watt’s third personal, and Buffalo holds a six point advantage. Buffalo has played almost exclusively man-to-man today. Mavunga loses control in the lane and heaves a wild shot that hits the top of the backboard. Buffalo ball. Mavunga may be running out of gas.

6:32—Auraum Nuiriankh is wide open from 15-feet, and Josh Sewell lunges in recovery and fouls him. Nuiriankh misses the first from the line but swishes the second. Five-point Buffalo lead as Barnett checks in for Auraum. Mavunga sticks his elbows wide on a step-through between two Buffalo post defenders and scores with a soft touch. Watt bricks a jumper—Barnett tears the rebound away from a Miami player and kicks it out to Filzen for a good look at a three. It’s good! Huge play by Barnett.

7:02—After going 1-7 in the first half, Zach Filzen’s a scorching 2 for 5 in the second half, including two big threes. 9 points and four rebounds for Zach. Right on cue, Filzen scoots inside and draws contact on Vince Legarza—the shot almost falls too. Two shots for the Bulls’ senior shooting guard: first is good. So is the second. 62-56 Bulls.

7:46—Under eight timeout, 60-56 Bulls. Nuiriankh airballs a three off an Oldham kickout—I think the shot hit a Miami player in the head out of surprise—but the ‘Hawks take over. The senior Mavunga, a master of shot fakes, spins around McCrea but steps on the baseline in the process. Now it’s the under eight timeout, actually, and it’s still 60-56. Plenty of early timeouts this half.

9:12—Filzen is unconscious now! Jon Harris is late to close on him on the perimeter, and Zach’s high-archer tickles the twine. Julian Mavunga fools another defender on an up-fake and tallies an and-one against McCrea, his third foul. Free throw is good, and the lead is back to four. Filzen misses two treys on the next possession—after a beautiful behind-the-back save by Barnett. Mitchell Watt pops out to block another Brian Sullivan three-point attempt—the Bulls are paying special attention to him—and Rollins nearly banks in a three at the shot clock buzzer.

10:24—Terrific block at the opposite side of the rim by Mitchell Watt on Julian Mavunga, who thought he was in the clear after Javon McCrea bit on his shot-fake. Dave Barnett hits a catch-and-shoot three over Adam Thomas, and Buffalo’s on a long-due shooting flurry. Pretty lob from Brian Sullivan to Quinten Rollins at the backdoor stops the Buffalo run, but it’s 57-53 Bulls right now.

10:45—Filzen’s catch-and-shoot three from straight on rattles through, drawing a roar from the UB crowd! Timeout, Miami, and perhaps that half-court shot by a kid fired up the Bulls. Or maybe not. Regardless, a 6-0 run here by Buffalo has them up 54-51.

11:27—Catching the ball at the elbow on a high-low play, McCrea found himself with a few feet of space—he drove strong to the hoop, banged into Mavunga—scored—plus the foul! That’s three fouls on Mavunga, and McCrea’s free throw is good to boot. Mavunga can’t hit his three, and Buffalo has a chance to take the lead now. 51-51 tie.

11:35—Under 12 timeout, 51-48 Miami (OH). Wow, a 10-year-old kid just swishes a half-court shot to win one pizza a month for a year. Chants of “scholarship!” rain down from the True Blue student section.

12:15 —With two on the shot clock, Rollins fires an inbounds pass off Harris’ leg and out of bounds. Another good entry pass by Barnett to McCrea, and there’s a foul called on the floor. Witherspoon is irate. Mitchell Watt steps out for an 18-footer and drills it. Adam Thomas responds with a 15-footer from the left wing, however, and Miami retains its three-point lead.

13:09—49-46 Miami after Rollins hits two from the line. Oldham finds himself trapped against the baseline—good defense by Thomas to force the turnover. Titus Robinson blocks Thomas’ floater attempt, and Brian Sullivan’s three is blocked by Jarod Oldham on the perimeter—good reaction by the Bulls’ point guard.

13:13—This is the under 16 timeout—the last was a full timeout by Miami (OH). Mitchell Watt’s quick start to the second half has him at 21 points now. 8-12 shooting, 5-5 from the line—fantastic game for the senior center who deserves All-MAC postseason consideration for sure.

13:13—Quinten Rollins breaks in by himself on Zach Filzen, and Jarod Oldham sneaks in from behind to tip the ball away. Inexplicably, Oldham is whistled for a foul, and Reggie Witherspoon calls the referee over to him and points to the video board for the replay. Buffalo’s head coach looks like he’s in the right on this one.

14:28—Jon Harris’ three swirls in and out, but Thomas grabs the offensive board. Titus Robinson blocks McGhee’s shot in the paint and hauls in the rebound himself. Great find by Javon McCrea to Titus Robinson inside after McCrea drew his defender out of the paint. Jon Harris responds with a soft floater over two defenders. Henderson gets into Julian Mavunga’s face on the bench.

14:44—Under 16 timeout, 45-44 Miami. I fully expect this game to go down to the wire. Both teams have refused to let the other go on an extended run, and Buffalo’s offensive rebounding and Miami’s efficient shooting have offset each other in this one-point game.

14:48—Legarza tries a heat-check 18-footer—an awkward choice for a 6’11 center—and it doesn’t graze the rim. Mitchell Watt, given a few feet of space in the lane, scores on a soft hook shot.

16:52—Vince Legarza, left alone on the perimeter, confidently sinks a 16-footer. Miami’s big men can sure shoot the basketball. Perfect baseline dish from Oldham into Watt, who slams home the feed. Rollins drains a jumper from the right wing, hanging out by himself behind a ball screen. Strong offensive rebound by Titus Robinson after Watt’s missed jumper, and he gathers and scores with a strong move from the right block. 45-42 Miami.

17:30 —On the left block, Watt spins baseline and is run into by Mavunga, who was a split-second late reacting to the spin. Watt’s first heave from the line swishes through. Second is good too. Missed hook shot by Mavunga, but Buffalo turns it right back over on an Oldham turnover. Jarod’s feet were a little faster than his head on that play.

18:07—Josh Sewell, who checked in for Jon Harris after Jermaine Henderson saw something he didn’t like, hits a three from the right wing. Javon McCrea draws a foul after another good baseline dish from Oldham, and McCrea misses his third of his last four free throws. After the second miss, Rollins grabbed the rebound and dashed down the floor—he’s fouled in the act of shooting, and he drills the first. Titus Robinson checks in for McCrea.

18:54—Soft touch on a one-handed shot from six feet by Watt, and it hits the front rim and drops through. 35-35. Good high low pass from McGhee to Mavunga, who scores easily off the window. Nice entry pass between two defenders by Oldham, and McCrea misses a gimme, but a foul bails him out. The first free throw is too strong off the back rim.

19:48—Javon McCrea drives from right to left across the lane and gets tied up by Drew McGhee. Watt misses a jumper, but Zach Filzen snags the rebound. Quinten Rollins picks Javon’s pocket in the lane, and it’s Miami ball. Great up-fake by Julian Mavunga under the basket, fooling Watt, and he scores on the other side of the rim.

20:00—Had to get some halftime chicken wings. Buffalo survived the first half despite shooting 38% from the floor. Miami hit at a 52% clip, including 6-12 from downtown. Watt is the only player with double figures in the game with 13.

———————-Halftime, 33-33 tie——————-

:06—Jarod Oldham dashes the length of the floor and boots the ball out to Filzen, but his three won’t stay down.

:27—Three seconds separate the shot clock from the game clock. Great defense by Jarod Oldham on Brian Sullivan on that possession, and Mavunga has to settle for a deep three that’s way to the left. Buffalo calls timeout with six seconds left.

:38—Buffalo’s tied the game at 33 with under a minute left. Filzen’s three sparked the run, and sheer power by Cameron Downing contributed to the 5-0 run. Geicko gecko sighting on the video board.

1:34—Zach Filzen comes around the screen of Cam Downing’s dribble hand-off and drills his first three of the contest. A big shot for Buffalo’s momentum, and Brian Sullivan clangs a deep three with two on the shot clock. Buffalo has a chance to tie. Cameron Downing bulls right into Miami’s Adam Thomas and peppers a shot off the window. Timeout, Miami!

2:15—Good rebounding position by Titus Robinson, who grabs Auraum Nuiriankh’s missed three and draws the second foul on Adam Thomas. Robinson knocks in the first but rattles out the second. Rebound by Harris for Miami. Pretty hesitation crossover and pull-up jumper from Julian Mavunga, but it won’t fall. Xavier Ford enters the game after Titus Robinson picks up his third foul. Wow.

2:54—Billy Buffalo sighting. Mitchell Watt nails a turnaround jumper from 12 feet. He’s been the only reliable outside shooter today—a point of concern, all things considered. Witherspoon is beside himself again after Watt picks up his second trying to block Adam Thomas’ try. Thomas misses the first from the stripe. Thomas’ second is good, however. 32-27 Miami.

3:24—Javon McCrea misses the front end of the one and one. Then, the Newark grad picks up his second foul of the game after Mavunga backed him down again. Witherspoon keeps chirping at the referee for his lack of consistency. Mavunga misses them both from the line, and Cam Downing enters for McCrea.

3:51—Under four timeout, 28-25 Miami. 11-0 is Buffalo’s edge on second-chance points—the Bulls have seven rebounds. Four turnovers to three assists for Mavunga, the Redhawks’ power forward who spends a lot of the time with the ball in his hands. Brian Sullivan’s pure stroke puts Miami up by six—he’s a Dan Majerle-esque outside shooter.

4:47—Javon McCrea steps up to poke away a Brian Sullivan drive, and the ref hands the ball to Buffalo. Nuiriankh now guards Harris after those three treys. Mavunga tries a 17-footer over Watt, and that’s good. Three-point Miami lead, and Javon McCrea gets his feet mixed up and travels on his first step.

5:47—Great catch and finish by Javon McCrea on the left block after a risky touch pass from Oldham into the post. Jon Harris answers with his third straight three, however, and Jarod Oldham cheated off him again. 26-25 Miami. Robinson enters for Buffalo, replacing Watt.

7:00 —Dave Barnett slashes down the left baseline and has the ball tipped away. Auraum Nuiriankh gives Buffalo a lift with a three off a ball-screen, but Jon Harris answers with a three of his own. Perhaps Buffalo should start guarding him now.

7:22—Under eight timeout, 20-20 tie. Miami looks like the tougher team right now, but the Redhawks have cost themselves with sloppy turnovers. Buffalo’s offense is choppy as well, and you don’t get the feeling that it’s a matter of time before the Bulls’ shots start falling. Many of them are not even close, especially from deep. 8-25 is the Bulls’ shooting today.

7:42—In rhythm, Dave Barnett launches a three from the right wing, and it’s good! Big shot for Barnett’s confidence, and it locks the game at 20. Instead of shooting, Mavunga tries a dump down to Josh Sewell, who steps on the baseline when he receives the pass under the hoop. Turnover, and that brings us to the media timeout.

8:51—Watson II slashes to the rim but can’t finish his finger roll. McCrea misses two chances down low after a Mavunga turnover, and Reggie Witherspoon appeals for another foul! There was definitely contact on McCrea’s second attempt. Harris finally strokes in a three as he’s left alone on the perimeter again. 20-17 Redhawks.

9:30—Zach Filzen slices to the rim and draws a foul on Sewell. It’s not deemed a shooting foul, however, and Reggie Witherspoon has choice words for the official. Brian Sullivan tries an entry to Mavunga, but the ball is tipped on the way through before glancing off Mavunga and out of bounds to the Bulls.

10:40—Brian Sullivan releases his first three of the game, and it’s a thing of beauty. After a missed Filzen three, Sullivan busts down and hoists another trey—that’s good too! Briefly trailing by two, Buffalo responds with a 16-footer by Mitch Watt from the left wing. Sewell is too strong on his floater, and Buffalo pushes the tempo a bit.

11:04—Another great inbound play for Buffalo, as Tony Watson II whips a short pass to Watt sealed on the baseline, and he arcs a shot high off the window and in as he’s hacked by Vince Legarza, who unleashes a loud “Shit!” as he walks to the pine with two fouls. Free throw is good by Watt.

11:04—Under 12 timeout, 12-11 Bulls. Buffalo has outrebounded Miami 11 to 8, but the Bulls are only 5-17 from the floor.

11:40—Watt, who sometimes seems like a jumbled mass of arms and legs, spins in the lane and scores on a floater with his left. Mavunga responds with a power drive and hoop. Filzen misses a mid-range jumper—he can’t find his stroke the last two games at home, and he’s 0-4 to start today.

12:20 —Buffalo’s Watt draws a foul on Legarza and nearly scores the hoop anyhow. Two shots upcoming for the senior center—the first is good. The second swishes through. Nice flare out to the perimeter by Legarza and a backdoor cut to Mavunga leads to an acrobatic reverse lay-in and a foul on Watt. Tremendously designed play by Miami, and an excellent finish by Mavunga. Free throw is good. 10-9 Bulls.

12:57—Mavunga feeds Legarza for a lay-in—the Redhawks are showing some solid interior passing. Filzen badly misses another three, and Reggie Witherspoon pleas for a foul. Mavunga and Legarza have a miscommunication—Mavunga faked a shot and through a lob, but the giant Legarza expected the shot and turned his head to the bucket.

13:41—Barnett coasts down the left side of the lane, only to miss his scooped layoff off the backboard. Oldham’s inbound to Barnett catches Miami off-guard, however, and the East Aurora alum banks in his reverse layup. Ticky-tack foul on the perimeter on Titus Robinson is called.

14:32—Barnett and Robinson, two seniors, check in for Buffalo. Josh Sewell and Vince Legarza enter the fray for Miami. Titus Robinson loses the grip on the basketball on the way up, and his shot glances hard off the front rim. Great entry from Legarza to Mavunga for an easy two.

14:42—6-2 Buffalo at the under 16 timeout. Chip Bison is here too—oh, shoot. He has such an awkwardly shaped build. Four points, two rebounds, one block and one steal for McCrea in the game’s first five+ minutes. No doubt that he’s the focal point of the attack today.

15:26—Strong drive to the bucket after a tremendous first step by McCrea to score off the window—he’s a beast. McGhee’s hook shot isn’t close, and Nuiriankh swallows the rebound. Javon bricks an outside jumper, however—a shot that no one really wants him to take. Mavunga tosses up an airball, and we’ve seen a slew of shots today that are frankly not even close to the hoop.

16:28—Zach Filzen badly misses his first three—it caroms off the backboard and out of bounds. Missed three by Jon Harris, but Nuiriankh clangs a mid-range jumper at the other end. For Miami, Harris misses his third three of the game—Buffalo’s more than willing to let him jack it from the outside.

17:27—Oldham misses a runner off the glass, but the high rebound is perfect for a crashing Mitchell Watt to throw down emphatically. Sabretooth is excited! I think that’s excitement, at least. Mavunga is called for a charge, as McCrea’s position was excellent. 4-2 Buffalo.

17:48—Zach Filzen has the assignment of sticking to Brian Sullivan, Miami’s excellent outside shooter. Drew McGhee scores on a hook shot for Miami, and then Quinten Rollins nearly thieves a pass for a Miami break. Buffalo ball out of bounds, but some scary ball-handling and passing early for the Bulls.

18:55—Javon McCrea scores on a sweeping left handed hook for the first bucket of the game. Watt throws up a wild shot, but then violently rejects Jon Harris at the other end in transition—great hustle in recovery. Mavunga on McCrea in the low block—foul whistled on McCrea as Mavunga dropped his shoulder into the Buffalo big.

20:00—Miami wears its red uniforms with white numbers and names, while UB dons its home whites with blue numbers and names. ‘Hawks win the tip. UB opens in man-to-man. McCrea swats McGhee’s feeble hook shot attempt, but Miami retain the ball. Missed three by Jon Harris from the right wing—rebound Oldham.

Pre-game—It’s mascot day here at Alumni, as Sabretooth, the Tim Hortons cup and several other bizarre characters are milling about the stands.

Pre-game—Jermaine Henderson steps in for Coles on the Miami sideline today. The Redhawks’ starters are Quinten Rollins, Brian Sullivan, Drew McGhee, Jon Harris and superstar Julian Mavunga. Sullivan’s made a name for himself as a freshman due to his long-range exploits—he hits at a nearly 50% clip despite standing only 5’11, 168. Mavunga averages 17 points and nine rebounds per contest.

Pre-game—The Redhawks have fought off injuries and suspensions this year to remain fairly competitive, even if they’re the worst team in the dominant MAC East. Miami nipped the Bulls 52-51 in Oxford in mid-January, a game in which Buffalo’s guards essentially didn’t show up.

Pre-game—UB was marauded by Ohio on Wednesday night 88-77, but the score isn’t indicative to how big of a blowout this was—Buffalo trailed by 19 late in the second half before a meaningless late surge. John Groce’s Bobcat squad collected 21 offensive rebounds, and the Bulls were bereft of any energy on the glass.

Pre-game—Miami (OH) is without its leader, 70-year-old head coach Charlie Coles, who was hospitalized on Friday for a virus. He’s one of the greatest characters in the game of college basketball, a venerable-yet-pretty-crazy coach who’ll egg on fan-bases, give unexpectedly hysterical quotes and lend ridiculous facial expressions at the referees. He’ll be missed today.

Pre-game—Needless to say, UB’s MAC East tilt against the Miami (OH) Redhawks is a game that the Bulls need—not only to rebound from a three-game losing skid, but also to make up for Wednesday’s embarrassment to Ohio in front of the home fans at Alumni Arena.

Pre-game—There’s currently a three-way tie for the #2 seed in the MAC Tournament—the UB Bulls, Ohio Bobcats and Kent State Golden Flashes are knotted at 9-4 in conference, and the team that separates itself from the other two will earn the ever crucial double-bye into the semifinals of the MAC Tournament.

TAGGED: college basketball, javon mccrea, mac basketball, miami oh, miami redhawks, ub bulls, university at buffalo

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  1. Allison Whalen February 27, 2012 @ 10:04am

    Why don’t you guys cover St. Bonaventure hoops?  The women are going to make the tournament this year!

    Allison Whalen's avatar
  2. Ben Tsujimoto February 27, 2012 @ 11:31am

    Awesome to see them crack the Top 25! Bona is a little too far away for us to manage coverage-wise, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t cover UB and Canisius, but we are definitely pulling for any Big 4 team. Good luck to the Bonnies!

    Ben Tsujimoto's avatar