GAME NOTES: The Buffalo Bulls continue their tour of the Great Lake State with a visit to the Convocation Center for a Mid-American Conference tilt against the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
This will be the 19th meeting in history between these schools on the hardwood. Buffalo holds a 10-8 all-time series edge after its 65-47 victory over EMU at home last season.
Reggie Witherspoon's Bulls came up short over the weekend and dropped a 71-60 decision to Western Michigan. Buffalo had won three of its previous four games before the loss, which dropped it to an 8-14 overall record including its 3-5 mark in the MAC standings. The Bulls, who were a 20-win team a season ago, are still one of the toughest draws in the league when they play up to their abilities.
In the loss to WMU, Javon McCrea had 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, pulled down 10 rebounds and had two assists to pace the team, which shot 41.2 percent from the field and was 6-of-20 from beyond the arc.
Buffalo will continue to look to McCrea to lead it to wins. The junior forward has stepped up to post a league-best 19.9 points to go along with 9.1 boards per MAC contest. McCrea has seven double-doubles this season, already surpassing his season totals of both his freshman and sophomore seasons. Tony Watson has averaged 12.3 points over the last three games and has drained three three-pointers in each of those three games. The Bulls have averaged 7.4 three-point makes over the last five games.
The Eagles are 10-11 on the campaign after being handed a 77-62 loss at Kent State over the weekend. For the game, EMU shot just 23-of-63 from the floor (.365) and 2-of-12 from beyond the arc (.167), while the Golden Flashes sank 45.3 percent of their field goal tries and added 20 more points at the charity stripe.
Coach Rob Murphy's team has lost all nine of its true road games, but is 10-2 record at home including a pair of notable wins over Purdue and Northern Illinois. Senior guard Derek Thompson is leading the way offensively for EMU, tallying 11.5 points per game. Pacing the Eagles in rebounding is junior center Da'Shonte Riley who is posting 6.0 boards and 2.3 blocks per game.
Thompson led the team with 17 points on 6-of-15 shooting against KSU, but none of the other Eagles managed to crack double-digits in the scoring column as the starting five shot a collective 10-of-31 from the field.
While EMU is a different team at home, it will have its hands full with a very feisty Buffalo unit. Both teams rely heavily on one player for offensive production, which could turn this one into a low-scoring, defensive-minded brawl.