The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team gets to put on its dancing shoes!
The Bulls defeated Central Michigan, 89-84, Saturday to win their first ever Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.
“I’m really proud of my team,” head coach Bobby Hurley said. “I’m proud of the accomplishment that this group achieved, the first time in school history that we are MAC champions.”
The Bulls earned a No. 12 seed for the NCAA tournament and will face No. 5 West Virginia University Friday at 2:10 p.m. The game will be aired nationally on TNT.
UB placed six in double figuresas the Bulls knocked off the top-seeded Chippewas in an offensive slugfest. UB was led by tournament Most Valuable Player Xavier Ford who scored 18 points, including a trio of three-pointers. He shared team-high scoring honors with Shannon Evans who also scored 18 points and added five rebounds and four assists.
Hampered by an injury, Justin Moss, who scored just four points in the semifinal win over Akron, came alive late in the game, when the Bulls needed him most. The MAC Player of the Year finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds in the game.
It was a close game throughout, with neither team holding more than a six-point lead for the first 34 minutes of the game. Will Regan, who has been hitting big second-half threes for the Bulls a lot lately, hit another one to break a 50-50 tie with 14:21 left that gave the Bulls the lead for good.
The Bulls won their eighth straight game to win the title and improved their record to 23-9 on the season, tying their win total from 2004-05. Ironically, UB’s last loss came against this same Central Michigan team on February 14.
“This team has so much heart and really came together when we suffered a tough loss at six and six in conference, to respond the way we have and to win eight straight games. It’s easy to coach when you have guys like Shannon Evans, Xavier Ford, Will Regan, Lamonte Beardon, Justin Moss and just go right down the line. This is an amazing group of kids.”
For more information on UB’s March Madness run, check out the Athletics website.