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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Arena (6,100) -- Buffalo, New York. Television: None. Home Record: OU 11-3, Buffalo 10-1. Away Record: OU 6-4, Buffalo 4-5. Neutral Record: OU 0-0, Buffalo 0-1. Conference Record: OU 7-4, Buffalo 8-3. Series Record: Ohio University leads, 26-8.
GAME NOTES: The Ohio University Bobcats have made the trek to upstate New York to take on the Buffalo Bulls in a Mid American Conference tilt at Alumni Arena.
Despite falling at Toledo on Wednesday night, 82-76, Ohio is still 4-2 in its last six outings. The Bobcats sit in second place in the MAC's East Division, just a game behind the first-place duo of Buffalo and Akron.
Buffalo has won three straight and five of six, including a win over Miami- Ohio also on Wednesday, 75-62. Knotted with Akron for the top spot in the East, the Bulls will take on the Zips this coming Wednesday.
The Bobcats won both meetings with the Bulls last season, and lead the all- time series, 26-8. Ohio has won six straight in the relationship, and Buffalo is looking for its first win at Alumni Arena since 2009-10.
In the loss to Toledo, Nick Kellogg poured in 21 points, Travis Wilkins had 17 and Jon Smith logged a double-double consisting of 10 points and 11 rebounds. Trailing 36-30 lead at intermission, the Bobcats pieced together a 14-1 run to take a six-point lead midway through the second half, but the Rockets charged right back with a 10-0 spurt of their own to regain the advantage. Toledo would never relinquish its lead down the stretch, putting the game on ice by shooting 5-of-6 at the free-throw line in the final minute.
Ohio has been able to win games in a number of different ways this season, but the Bobcats are most effective when they are able to control the tempo with their defense. They are allowing only 66.5 ppg on 40 percent shooting this season. When they have the ball, they rank third in the MAC in both scoring (72.5 ppg) and field goal percentage (.451). Maurice Ndour (15.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg) and Kellogg (15.3 ppg) are the only two double-digit scorers on the roster, but the inside-outside combination they form is tough to contend with.
Javon McCrea tallied a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bulls past Miami-Ohio. Joshua Freelove knocked down 4-of-10 tries from 3- point range for 16 points, while Jarod Oldham dished out six assists and logged five steals for Buffalo, who set the tone early by shooting 57.1 percent from the field in the first half, including 7-of-14 from 3-point range, and it took a 42-33 lead into intermission. The Bulls led wire-to-wire, pulling ahead by as many as 17 down the stretch.
McCrea has been an absolute monster for the Bulls this season, averaging a double-double in 21 games played. McCrea leads the team with 18.3 ppg and a team-best 10.2 rpg average. His 55 blocked shots is by far the most on the Bulls, and his 33 steals are second to Jarod Oldham's 37, who also has 112 assists. Freelove is second on the team with 12.6 ppg, and Will Regan checks in with 10.8 ppg. The Bulls are scoring 72.3 ppg and yielding just 65.9 ppg, giving them a scoring margin of +6.4, second-best in the MAC.
These are two quality teams that know how to score. The Bulls have a little more depth and play a little better defense, so expect them to continue their excellent play at home and send the Bobcats packing.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Buffalo 73, Ohio University 70
02/15 10:24:27 ET
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