On paper, the University at Buffalo seemed to have drawn a tough road assignment against a Toledo team whose only losses came against No. 16 Kansas and at Western Michigan.
Paper scouting report aside, the outcome proved to be much more difficult for the Bulls to swallow Wednesday night at Savage Arena.
Julius Brown prevented UB from extending two winning streaks as his buzzer-beating shot gave Toledo the 67-65 victory in a Mid-American Conference clash between East Division rivals. With the win, the Rockets beat UB for the first time in six meetings and also prevented their foe from extending its current winning streak to a season-high five games.
UB (8-5, 2-1) led by as much as 13 during the first half, but the Rockets (14-2, 2-1) slowly chipped away – creeping to within striking distance by halftime as the Bulls led, 39-32.
Brown scored the final eight points for Toledo and finished with 20 points. Javon McCrea led UB with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Shannon Evans’ layup with three seconds left tied the game at 65 for the Bulls, who were looking to win for the ninth time in their last 11 games.
In the Atlantic 10, St. Bonaventure gave another ranked opponent a scare but for the second straight game the Bonnies failed to come away with the upset as they fell to No. 24 Saint Louis, 66-60, at Chaifetz Arena.
Bona fell to 0-24 against ranked teams since beating Temple back in 2000, but hung in against the Billikens (16-2, 3-0) despite battling foul trouble throughout and even took a 47-45 lead midway through the second half on Jordan Gathers’ three-pointer.
The hosts responded with a 12-1 run over the next three minutes, which included a pair of treys from Mike Crawford. Bona never got closer than five the rest of the way.
Matthew Wright had 17 points for Bona (11-6, 1-2), which had four players finish with four fouls each. Dion Wright added 16 points off the bench.
In other Big 4 action, the UB women rallied to beat Toledo, 51-46, at Alumni Arena behind Mackenzie Loesing’s 15 points and 13 from Alexus Malone.
Malone’s layup with 46 seconds left broke a 44-44 tie as the Bulls (8-7, 1-3) closed with a 9-2 run to end a three-game losing streak. The Rockets (7-8, 2-2), trailed 24-17 at halftime but took the lead four times in the second half.
In Olean, St. Bonaventure’s women beat La Salle, 58-35, in the Atlantic 10, as sophomore Katie Healy of Lancaster poured in a career-high 27 points and 11 rebounds for the Bonnies (13-6, 2-2). It’s the third time in four games the former Buffalo News Player of the Year has scored more than 20 points.
Bona limited the Explorers to 20.4 percent shooting as the 35 points against was a season low.
NU looks to end slump
The slump will end for one team and continue for the other when Niagara and Fairfield (3-13, 0-6) meet in men’s Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. (8:30 p.m., Radio 1520 AM).
Both teams bring four-game losing streaks into the contest, which is the start of a three-game road trip for the Purple Eagles (4-13, 1-5). It’s easy to see why both teams have struggled. Niagara can’t stop anyone from scoring while the Stags have trouble putting the ball in the basket. The Purple Eagles enter the contest last in defense in the conference, yielding 85.5 points per game.
Fairfield ranks second in points against (69.9), first in field-goal defense (40.1 percent) but averages a MAAC low 61.4 points on offense. Only seven out of the 351 teams in Division I average fewer points than the Stags.
NU’s Antoine Mason leads the nation in scoring at 28.3 per game.