In a game that featured eight ties and 13 lead changes, it was Javon McCrea who made the biggest difference as the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team beat Drexel, 55-52, on Sunday.
McCrea scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Neither team shot particularly well in the low-scoring game that saw McCrea shoot 8 of 13 from the floor and make more than a third of his team’s field goals.
The Bulls (6-4) shot 21 of 59 from the floor while Drexel (8-4) connected on 19 of 58.
McCrea scored 16 points after halftime, including two quick baskets to give Buffalo a 28-27 lead. The lead changed hands nine times in the second half. A 7-1 run with consecutive baskets from McCrea and Joshua Freelove, plus a three-pointer from Shannon Evans, put the Bulls up for keeps at 49-44 with 4:46 to play.
Allen Tavon led Drexel with 14 points and scored the only three-pointer in 14 team tries.
Elsewhere, St. Bonaventure returns home tonight for the first time since Dec. 3 to host high-scoring Delaware in the Bonnies’ final game of the calendar year.
The Bonnies’ last game was Dec. 21, a last-second, 74-72 win at Niagara. Delaware also has not played since Dec. 21, when the Blue Hens defeated Bryant in overtime.
The Niagara game was the end of a stretch in which St. Bonaventure played eight out of nine games on the road or at a neutral site. UMass-Lowell was the Bonnies’ only home game in a span of 45 days (Nov. 16-Dec. 30). The Bonnies went 4-4 over the eight road/neutral games.
Now, St. Bonaventure will enjoy six out of its next nine games at home, where it is 4-0 to date. The Delaware game starts a three-game homestand.
The Blue Hens have been road warriors this season. This game will be their 10th away from home; three of their six losses came at No. 3 Ohio State, at Villanova and at Notre Dame. Delaware averages 82 points per game but also allows 80 per outing.
A second half rally fell short as the Niagara women dropped an 84-61 decision to Quinnipiac in a MAAC opener in Hamden, Conn.
The Purple Eagles got off to a slow start and found themselves trailing by 17 points (46-29) early in the second half. They put together a 21-6 run that cut the deficit to 52-50, with 11:45 left.
Chanel Johnson scored 10 of the team’s 21 points on her way to a game-high 19 points for the afternoon. From there, however, the Bobcats were able to get their offense rolling again and were able to build their lead back to double digits.
“There were times throughout the game where we looked really good, then there were times when we looked the opposite,” coach Kendra Faustin said. “We have to do an overall better job of being consistent. We made a great run in the second half to cut [the deficit] to two and you would never know that by looking at the stat sheet.”
Canisius dropped a 72-56 decision at Manhattan in a game in which Golden Griffins senior Jamie Ruttle scored her 1,000th point. Ruttle became the 21st player in program history to reach the milestone.
Canisius hurt itself with 25 turnovers, which led to 30 points for the Jaspers. The Griffins fall to 4-7 overall and 0-2 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Junior Kayla Hoohuli led Canisius with 13 points while sophomore Tiahana Mills added 12 with four assists. Sophomore Crystal Porter added eight points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
“It’s very hard to win a basketball game with that many turnovers,” Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. “Manhattan just pressured us, and we lost our focus and turned the ball over. In the first half, we didn’t bring enough intensity on the defensive end and let Manhattan get a comfortable lead they did a good job of maintaining throughout the game.”