Game analysis: UB usually finds a way to lose close games but on Monday in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament it found a way to win. Actually, it was more like an escape. Central Michigan rallied from a seven-point deficit to send the game into overtime and had a chance to win but Kyle Randall's 3-pointer bounced off the backboard and the Bulls won, 74-72, to advance to the tournament's second round against Ball State.
How UB won: Javon McCrea who earned first-team All-MAC honors earlier in the day controlled the paint while Will Regan kept some of the pressure off McCrea inside by hitting 3 of 6 3-pointers. Randall went nuts after halftime, but the Bulls came up with a huge defensive stop to win the game.
Turning Point: McCrea gave the Bulls a four-point advantage in overtime when he drove right and flushed in a left-handed dunk with 2:59 left in the game. Central Michigan pulled within a point on a Randall free throw but Watson made 1 of 2 free throws with 3.4 seconds left.
Player of the Game: Randall had three points at halftime but finished with a game-high 31.
Who is that guy?: Raphell Thomas-Edwards career at UB has been nondescript to say the least but he scored a career best 10 points in the first half, all off the bench. Coming into the game, he made a grand total of 10 field goals this season.
Key stat: Watson was 1 of 10 from downtown.
What It Means: UB advances to Cleveland for the 10th consecutive season.
In the House: 2,309 at Alumni Arena.
He said it: "Partly why we didn't want to play Buffalo was because of Javon McCrea. We don't have anybody that can defend him. We have undersized post guys in there as freshman so we were going to try to be as physical with him as possible and limit his touches he got. As special of a player as he is, he kept working and kept fighting." - Central Michigan coach Keno Davis.
Up next: vs. Ball State at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Cleveland
taggedBig 4 | College basketball | Mid-American Conference | Mid-Majors | NCAA | University at Buffalo