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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 29, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Arena (6,100) -- Amherst, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Western Michigan 7-2, Buffalo 8-1. Away Record: Western Michigan 2-5, Buffalo 2-4. Neutral Record: Western Michigan 2-0, Buffalo 0-1. Conference Record: Western Michigan 4-2, Buffalo 4-2. Series Record: Western Michigan leads, 11-8.
GAME NOTES: After dropping two consecutive games, the Western Michigan Broncos have won their last two and will try to make it three as they travel to face the Buffalo Bulls in Mid-American Conference play at Alumni Arena.
Western Michigan won its first two games in conference play, then lost two in a row, then won two more for a 4-2 MAC record. The Broncos are a game behind Toledo, whom the Broncos beat earlier this season, in the MAC West Division. Western Michigan defeated Ball State, 62-53, in its most recent outing.
Buffalo has won two of its last three games, and is 4-2 in conference play as well. The Bulls are part of a three-way tie for second place in the MAC East Division with Ohio and Miami-Ohio. Buffalo is coming off a 75-67 victory over Northern Illinois Saturday.
The Broncos hold a slim 11-8 all-time series lead with Buffalo, and won the most recent meeting between the programs, 71-60, back in February of 2013. This is the only time during the regular season Buffalo and Western Michigan will clash.
Ball State held a slim 26-25 lead over Western Michigan in the Broncos' last game, but Western Michigan exploded in the second half to take the nine-point victory. Shayne Whittington led all Broncos scorers with 21 points, adding 15 rebounds in the contest for the double-double. David Brown chipped in 17 points, and Connar Tava netted 11. Western Michigan shot just 36.7 percent from the floor, including 2-of-9 from 3-point range.
Brown tops the team in scoring this season with 18.7 ppg on 41.3 percent shooting from the floor. Whittington, who leads the squad with 9.1 rpg, is second behind Brown with 14.8 ppg and a team-best 21 blocked shots. Tava rounds out the double-digit scorers for the Broncos at 12.1 ppg on 59.5 percent shooting.
Buffalo connected on 55.6 percent of its shots in the game against Northern Illinois, but more importantly held the Huskies to just 34.5 percent shooting from the floor in the win. Forward Javon McCrea scored a team-high 20 points in the win, grabbing nine rebounds in the process. Joshua Freelove netted 13 points, and Will Regan added 12 for Buffalo. The Bulls connected on 54.5 percent of their 3-point attempts, but just 59.4 from the free-throw line.
McCrea is having a season to remember for the Bulls, leading the team with 17.6 ppg on 56.7 percent shooting from the floor. His 9.5 rpg is also a team high, as well as 43 blocked shots and 25 steals. Freelove (12.5 ppg) and Regan (10.6 ppg) are the other two players averaging double-digit scoring totals for Buffalo. Jarod Oldham leads the team with 85 assists on the year.
Western Michigan has been spotty recently, losing to teams like Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan, but beat Toledo and Miami-Ohio. Buffalo is a strong home team with a solid presence in the paint. The Bulls should be able to get enough help from McCrea and scoring from Freelove to cancel out the Broncos' attack.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Buffalo 78, Western Michigan 74
01/29 10:31:12 ET
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