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Bulls stomp RedHawks

By Win Braswell
On February 18, 2013

When the Bulls from the University at Buffalo came to Oxford Saturday, revenge was definitely on their minds, as they edged Miami's men's basketball team 79-71 in their second bout this season. Both teams desperately needed the win, but Miami could not complete the season sweep of Buffalo, after a 58-57 victory at Buffalo Jan. 12. The RedHawks now hold an 8-16, 3-9 Mid-American Conference (MAC) record.

Despite three RedHawks scoring in double figures, and a late rally, Miami was unable to stop Bulls' senior guard Tony Watson II, who scored a career high 31 points.

"I thought Tony Watson, from beginning to end, controlled the basketball game," Head Coach John Cooper said. "He was just unbelievable, as far as being able to knock down shots and some of the decisions he made."

Watson did not score one bucket in the Jan. 12 meeting, but was 10-14 from the field, including six three pointers. Along with Watson's big day, Bulls' junior forward Javon McCrea added 20 points and six boards.

"Tony Watson and Javon McCrea were better than we were," Cooper said.

Just as in the first meeting between these two teams, the first half was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team able to create substantial breathing room. Buffalo started the game fast, taking a quick five point lead, before surrendering a six-point spurt to Miami. The balanced scoring from both teams and several scoring runs resulted in Buffalo taking a 39-36 advantage into the locker room after the first 20 minutes of play.

Redshirt center Drew McGhee, who led Miami in scoring with 13 points, tied the game at 41, after scoring the first six RedHawk points of the second half. After more basket trading, Buffalo was able to create some space by completing a 15-4 scoring run that put the Bulls up 63-51 with 8:15 to play. Just 10 seconds later, McGhee added two more points to his total, while sparking a 9-0 run that featured freshman guard Geovonie McKnight scoring five consecutive points.

The 'Hawks got within a point, 70-69, but were plagued with bad shots and undisciplined defense down the stretch. The loss ties a season high four straight for Miami, as it had three prior four game losing stretches.

Redshirt junior guard Allen Roberts and redshirt junior forward Will Felder each added 10 points as well. Miami shot the ball well, making 50 percent from the floor, 33 percent from three and 78 percent from the line. The RedHawks were outrebounded for the first time in five games, and suffered 12 turnovers. Roberts lamented his team's defensive effort on Watson.

"Once a shooter like that gets going making shots, it can be a long day," Roberts said.

Miami's senior center Vince Legarza tied a career high with five assists in the first half. He first accomplished the feat in the Jan. 12 meeting. Junior guard Quinten Rollins also added five assists, five rebounds and a career high-tying five steals.

"We get to the last few minutes and we lose our heads and we lose out wits," Cooper said. "I'm the only person you can blame that on. As much as we talk about it and work on it, I still haven't gotten the message across to this group on how to close out a game."

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