The University at Buffalo scored the highlight win so far of Bobby Hurley’s first season as men’s basketball coach Wednesday night, hanging on for a crucial 69-64 win over Ohio University at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio.
What’s more, Akron’s 65-61 loss at Miami (Ohio) left the first-place Bulls two games clear of the Zips and Ohio in the Mid-American Conference East Division standings with three regular season games left.
In other Big 4 basketball Wednesday night, St. Bonaventure (16-12, 6-8 Atlantic 10) was outscored 8-0 over the last 2:23 and lost to La Salle, 75-67, at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia.
Meanwhile at the Reilly Center in Olean, the St. Bonaventure women (22-8, 11-4 A-10) claimed a crucial victory, defeating George Washington, 74-64, to take a one-game lead over the Colonials (19-9, 10-5 A-10) for second place in the conference. Nyla Rueter scored a game-high 22 points for the Bonnies.
The UB men built a 15-point halftime lead, nearly squandered all of it, then pulled out a victory over one of their MAC nemeses. It snapped a seven-game losing streak to Ohio and was only the second UB win in Athens.
UB led 42-27 at the half, but a 12-0 run got Ohio get back in it. The Bulls never lost the lead, however, although Ohio cut it to 65-64 with 1:10 left on a three-pointer by Nick Kellogg. Javon McCrea made a pair of free throws with 39 seconds left and Shannon Evans made two more with 0:01 left to wrap it up. McCrea led UB with 15 points. Joshua Freelove had 14, Jarod Oldham 13 and Evans 10. Kellogg led Ohio with 18.
La Salle shot 56.5 percent (26 of 46, including 7 of 13 from three-point range) to win a tight game. There were six lead changes after a 61-all tie. Two free throws by Tyreek Duren put La Salle in front for good, 68-67, with 2:07 left. Matthew Wright had 18 points and Youssou Ndoye 16 for Bona.
Tonight, the UB women (15-10, 8-6 Mid-American Conference) open their final regular season road trip at Ohio University (Radio 1270, 7 p.m.). The Bulls saw their two-game win streak end in last Saturday’s 73-63 home loss to Bowling Green. The host Bobcats (8-17, 3-11 MAC) have lost their last 10 games, all to conference opposition.
If the MAC tournament were to begin today, UB would be the fourth seed and draw a first-round bye.