Ohio (21-8) at Buffalo (12-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 5, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Arena (8,000) -- Buffalo, New York. Television: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel. Home Record: Ohio 15-2, Buffalo 8-5. Away Record: Ohio 6-6, Buffalo 4-9. Neutral Record: Ohio 0-0, Buffalo 0-3. Conference Record: Ohio 12-2, Buffalo 7-7. Series Record: Ohio leads, 21-8.
GAME NOTES: The Buffalo Bulls take aim at another upset as they welcome the Ohio Bobcats to Alumni Arena for a Mid-American Conference tilt.
Ohio kept its hope for the MAC regular season title alive on Saturday with a 78-65 win at Bowling Green. The Bobcats will need to win out and hope Akron loses both of its final two games to steal the conference lead before the conclusion of the regular season. Coach Jim Christian's unit has lost only twice in conference play and both setbacks came courtesy of the Zips.
Reggie Keely tallied 21 points to spearhead a balanced Ohio attack on Saturday as three of his teammates managed to join him in double-figures in the 13- point victory over the Falcons. Nick Kellogg tallied 16 points and five steals to help the Bobcats sweep the season series. Walter Offutt chipped in with 12 points and five assists, while D.J. Cooper scored 10 and dished out six helpers. Cooper is one of the top passers in the nation with 7.4 assists per tilt and his efforts are a big reason why the Bobcats rank first among Division I programs in assists per game (18.5). Keely and Walter Offutt are both tallying over 11 ppg to help the Bobcats average 74.4.
Reggie Witherspoon's Bulls did what none of their conference foes have been able to do all season on Saturday as they coasted to an 81-67 decision over Akron to snap the Zips' nation-leading 19-game win streak and hand them their first conference loss of the season. Buffalo shot 28-of-50 from the field and 7-of-17 on 3-point tries to Akron's 26-of-69 from the floor and 4-of-21 efficiency from long distance. The Bulls overcame a 36-33 disadvantage in rebounds by outscoring the Zips, 18-7, at the charity stripe. Javon McCrea submitted a tremendous performance with 26 points, seven rebounds and three rejections, while Jarryn Skeete and Will Regan netted 18 and 16 points apiece, respectively. Tony Watson gave the squad a lift as well with 13 points and six assists. Buffalo assisted 20 of its 28 makes from the floor and committed just 10 turnovers.
The Bulls are averaging a modest 66.3 ppg on the campaign, but have turned up the heat at the offensive end of late, posting at least 75 points in four of their last five games. McCrea is the leader at both ends of the floor, as the 6-foot-7 junior is shooting .564 from the field, while leading the team in scoring (17.9 ppg), rebounding (8.1 rpg) and blocked shots (79). Watson complements with his perimeter shooting, converting .447 from behind the arc (64-of-144) and posting 10.8 ppg.
The Bobcats are the better team on paper, but they are just .500 in true road games this season and have lost two of their last three games. McCrea will give the Bulls an edge on the interior, but his teammates will need to step it up on the perimeter against Ohio's talented backcourt.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio 71, Buffalo 68
03/05 10:44:58 ET