At Quicken Loans Arena
UB 76, Ball State 61
How UB Won: By playing its most dominant 20 minutes of basketball this season. The Bulls had little going in the first half. They shot 28 percent and got killed on the boards. Only a 12 of 13 effort at the free throw line had them in reasonable contention. And then they went to the locker room and came out wearing capes, outscoring the Cardinals 46-25.
Player of the Game: Will Regan was one of the Bulls targetted in Ball State's defensive game plan. They didn't defend him quite like they intended. Regan went off for a career-high 36, 25 of those in the second half. He was 11 of 17 on FGs, 5 of 7 from three and 9 of 9 from the line. He has 51 points in two tourney games after playing just 20 minutes and going scoreless in the season finale at Bowling Green.
Top Supporting Role: Tony Watson scored just five points but went for eight assists, four of UB's 13 steals and played a major part in keeping Ball State's Jauwan Scaife in check while the game turned decidedly in UB's favor.
Best Performance (Losing Effort): Jauwan Scaife scored 28 points in his final college game but just 11 came in the second half and most of those late.
Double Trouble: Javon McCrea's 18 points and 11 boards made for his 11th double-double on the season. He needs two points to break the school single-season record of 592 set by Calvin Cage in 2006.
What It Means: UB advanced to the quarterfinals at 6:30 Thursday night where the Bulls will get a third shot at Kent State. The Golden Flashes used a late run to win at Alumni Arena and survived in OT at Kent.
Stat Check: Watson played 39 of 40 minutes, coming out of a game for the first time since the Feb. 23 BracketBuster against Manhattan.
Stat Check II: UB shot better than 60 percent in the second half for the second time this month. They also did it while snapping Akron's 19-game winning streak.
Stat Check III: Regan went 9 of 16 from three in two games against Ball State. He set his career high of 4 in the first meeting.
Select Company: Regan's 36 points are a UB MAC tourney record and the effort ranks eighth overall in tourney history.
Depth Charge: Raphell Thomas-Edwards played 31 minutes -- his career high by 12 -- as Auraum Nuiriankh hit early foul trouble. RTE responded with eight points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. In two tourney games he's totaled 18 points and seven rebounds. He sat out the last three weeks of February with an upper body injury.
They Said It:
Tony Watson on the halftime turnaround: "What they were doing had nothing to do what what we were doing, We had to play Buffalo basketball. . . . It started on defense. We made them take tougher shots. We started rebounding the ball a lot better. And it translated to our offense and we were taking good shots.
Ball State Coach Billy Taylor: "The second half we didn't make all the plays we needed to make defensively. It seemed like every time we made a mistake defensively they capitalized. . . . It's hard to win when a team's clicking that well offensively."
-- Bob DiCesare
taggedCollege basketball | Mid-American Conference | NCAA Tournament | University at Buffalo