UB 96, Akron 90
How UB Won: Just don't see how it's possible for the Bulls to play a better offensive game. They shot 63.3 percent from the field against a quality defensive team. They had 21 assists on 38 field goals, including a career-high eight by Javon McCrea. Four players hit double figures and three went for 20 or more. They only turned it over eight times, and two of those came in the opening few minutes. It was reminiscent of when they thrashed Western Michigan, 84-63, at the end of January. When the Bulls get rolling it's a sight to behold.
What it Means: Vital victory that ties UB with Akron atop the East and puts the Bulls back in the top four in the overall standing. A slip in this one with three of the last five on the road would have strained their chances of avoiding the long road to Cleveland. Odds are they'll still need to win at either Kent, Akron or Ohio.
Player of the Game: Javon McCrea is having just a monster second half to his second season. The latest: 20 points, 13 boards, eight assists and three blocks. He's down to 20 points away from becoming the UB's all-time leading scorer. And since he's never been fond of Kent State, doubtless he wouldn't mind doing on Saturday so long as it comes in UB's first-ever road win over the Golden Flashes.
Player of the Game, Losing Effort: Zips forward Demetrius Treadwell must be the best power forward in the conference outside McCrea. He had 21-7-4.
Extenuating Circumstances: The Zips were without forwards Nick Harney (suspended) and Reggie McAdams. Sharpshooter Jake Kretzer suffered a four-stitch cut and a concussion in a second-half collision with Justin Moss's elbow. And the Zips showed UB little of their zone. The rematch March 4 in Akron will be interesting.
Stat Check: UB guards -- Josh Freelove, Jarod Oldham, Jarryn Skeete and Shannon Evans -- combined to go 22 of 31 from the field. That is just sick.
Finishing: UB got lax offensively in the Ohio loss, taking a few shots that probably weren't in their best interests. This time when Akron made its runs, the Bulls attacked the rim. They totaled 54 points in the paint.
Stat Check II: UB's 63.3 percent shooting night ranks fifth in the D-I era.
In the House: Attendance has been picking up. The Bulls went over 5,000 for Ohio Saturday and followed up with 3,579 Wednesday.
-- Bob DiCesare
taggedCollege basketball | Mid-American Conference | University at Buffalo