Bulls Capture 3rd MAC Title in 4 Years

When former Buffalo head coach Bobby Hurley left the Bulls, fans feared the program would lose some of their dominance in the Mid-American Conference. Now head coach Nate Oats would disagree with that fear.

For the third time in four years, the Buffalo Bulls have punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament by winning the MAC Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

This time it would come at the hands of the Toledo Rockets by a final of 76-66. Unfortunately for the Rockets, they were without MAC player of the year Tre’Shaun Fletcher.

The story of the game was the high pick and roll between MAC All-Third Team guard Wes Clark and MAC Sixth Man of the Year Nick Perkins. Oates went to this set time and time again, typically against guard Jaelan Sanford and center Luke Knapke. Sanford struggled all night to fight through the large frame of Perkins, and with Knapke sitting back instead of hedging, Clark poured in open jumpers all game to the tune of 26 points.

Perkins, after going just 1-8 in the first half, found a rhythm against a tired Knapke in the second half. “I just slowed down, got to my spot, and finished”, said Perkins. “That really was the big difference”. The big man would finish with 16 huge points.

Toledo would end the game with 3 starters in double digit scoring, led by Jaelan Sanford with 19. However, they were just never able to get over the hump in the second half. “The difference was on us… a couple bad turnovers back to back and missed wide open shots”, said the junior guard. “It was just on us”.

Despite having the NCAA Tournament now staring him in the face, Coach Oats pointed out how excited he was for next season. “Well, if you go to some NCAA tournaments, it is easy to recruit the best players, and you can keep this momentum rolling”, said the second year Buffalo coach. “And the recruiting class we’ve got coming in next year…we’ve got something building”.

Buffalo now awaits Selection Sunday to see where they are seeded and who they will be playing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

 

Central Michigan Caps Magical Season with MAC Title

 

For the first time since 2013, the Central Michigan Chippewas women’s basketball team will be going to the NCAA Tournament.

Both the Chippewas and the Bulls expected themselves to be in this game after going 17-1 and 16-2 in conference play respectively.

Presley Hudson lit the Chippewas offensive spark early and often, pouring in 11 points going 3-3 from downtown. The Chippewas turned things up defensively as well, as they were able to frustrate Buffalo point guard Stephanie Reid who was 0-2 after the first quarter.

The game would turn on its head in the second quarter, however, as all good MAC Tournament Championship Games seem to. Down 34-23, Buffalo forward Mariah Suchan nearly dove out of bounds to save a loose ball to Reid, who found sharpshooter Cierra Dillard open for 3. This sparked a 17-5 run that put Buffalo up 40-39 via another Dillard 3 ball. Central would calm the storm a bit as Presley Hudson and gang would retake a 43-40 lead heading into halftime.

The second half absolutely belonged to Chippewa senior Tinara Moore. After a scoreless first half (with only 2 touches according to coach Sue Guevara in the post-game presser), Moore established a dominant presence down low. Hudson and Moore dissected the Bulls defense with the high pick and roll as Moore cruised to a 17-point second half performance and finished with 14 rebounds.

Central would extend the lead to as much as 14 before Buffalo made another run to cut it to 4. The Chippewas were able to make enough of their free throws in the closing seconds, however, as Central Michigan punched their ticket with a 96-91 victory.

As mentioned, Tinara Moore’s rebounding down low was too much for Buffalo as double teams failed to slow her down even the slightest. Guards Micaela Kelly and Presley Hudson poured in 26 points each as they frustrated Buffalo’s perimeter defense all day. All starters for Central Michigan finished in double digit scoring.

All-MAC Tournament honors from Central Michigan went to Tinara Moore, Micaela Kelly, and MAC Tournament MVP Reyna Frost who had 10 points and 11 boards in the championship win. Frost scored 14 in the quarterfinal win over Eastern Michigan and 18 in the semifinal win over Miami Ohio. “Thank my teammates and thank my coaches for giving me this award”, tournament MVP Frost said, “preparing me for these games”.

For Buffalo, Cierra Dillard was not her usual self from the field as she really struggled to be efficient. Dillard would finish with 26 points on 6-20 from the field and 5-15 from 3. Stephanie Reid, one of the leaders of this Buffalo team, suffered 2 injuries in the game, the latter of which ending her day.
In inadvertent elbow to her right wrist late in the 3rd forced the trainer to wrap it.

Reid would sit the beginning of the 4th and a sprained ankle at the 5-minute mark would end her day. She would finish with 15 points. A technical foul on Buffalo coach Felisha Legette-Jack with 8 minutes left for disagreeing with a call would prove crucial down the stretch.

Despite 17 turnovers for Central compared to just 5 for Buffalo, the Chippewas overcame this with their persistence on the glass (primarily because of Moore). Central outrebounded Buffalo 44-34 and those extra possessions down the stretch really took the life out of the Buffalo defense.

Buffalo, after a 27-5 regular season record, is still hoping to be a team to receive an at-large bid. “I don’t see how they can’t be”, said Central Michigan head coach Sue Guevara. “They’re one of the top 64 teams in this country”. Coach Guevara also pointed out the MAC Conference was 7th overall in RPI which should work in Buffalo’s favor.

Buffalo forward Summer Hemphill also believes that this Bulls team still has work to do. “The season’s definitely not over”, the freshman said. “We have a longer run to look forward to”.

 

 

 

 

 

Buffalo sends Kent packing to advance to the MAC Tournament final

The Buffalo Bulls downed Kent State 78-61 to advance to the MAC Tournament finals. The Buffalo effort was spearheaded by the scoring efforts of Jeremy Harris. He tallied 22 points and 7 rebounds for the Bulls. He was most notably a threat in transition, where his speed and finishing ability really flourished.
The Flashes failed to mount any sort of serious come back in the game. The usually explosive offense contributions from Jaelen Avery and Jaylin Walker were not present at the Q. Avery finished as the top scorer for Kent with 16. Kent also struggled finding a way to stop Buffalo on transition. Typically a formidable body roaming the paint, De La Rosa of Kent was out-muscled by Buffalo big man Perkins. Kent State struggled in transition offense as well on a night that did not do justice by them.
The MAC Tournament Finals will be Friday March 9 between the Buffalo Bulls and the Toledo Rockets.

Bulls Blast Broncos for Berth in Championship Game

The Buffalo Bulls squared off against the Western Michigan Broncos on Friday, March 9, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland for the MAC Women’s Quarterfinal. Buffalo got off to a hot start thanks to the lightning fast speed of Stephanie Reid, the senior guard from Australia. Cassie Ousler also contributed with two fadeaway jumpers. But the Broncos would not let the Bulls run away with it that early as Jordan Walker and Breanna Mobley battled back and went up 9-8 in the first quarter. The Bulls would then go on an unstoppable 12-0 run to end the first quarter and make the score 20-9 after one. The second quarter started off all Western Michigan as Breanna Mobley scored 6 unanswered points. But just as the Broncos started to find their groove, Buffalo came back and took the lead. Summer Hemphill stepped up big for the Bulls and Autumn Jones contributed off the bench.

The score at halftime would end up being Buffalo 32, Broncos 24.

The second half would be much like the first. The broncos would hit a shit and then the Bulls would answer back right away. It was not until mid way through the third quarter that Buffalo went on an amazing run thanks to Autumn Jones’ 4 point play which she then followed up with another 3 the next possession. The score at the end of the third would be 59-36, all Buffalo. Western Michigan’s struggles seem to come from their inability to shoot from beyond the arch, 20% from three, and defensive breakdowns against the Bulls’ quickness and physicality. Breanna Mobley was the Broncos only bright spot as she would finish the game with 21 points. For the Bulls their top scorers were Cierra Dillard with 17 points and Stephanie Reid with 12 points. The final result would be Buffalo 85, Western Michigan 53. Buffalo will play on Saturday in the MAC Championship Game against Central Michigan University.

 

Central Michigan squeaks past Miami in MAC quarterfinal game

Cleveland, OH — The Central Michigan Chippewas women’s basketball team defeated the Miami RedHawks with a score of 61-58 after a tough fought game by both teams in the MAC quarterfinals. Miami’s star player Lauren Dickerson struggled in the first half as she shot three for 14. Micaela Kelly thrived for the Chippewas in the first half and kept up the intensity as she led her team in scoring with nine points.

Kelly was the leading scorer for the Chippewas as she had 16 points on six of nine shooting, along with three rebounds and three assists. Dickerson led all scorers in the game with 21 points and she was the only player to play all 40 minutes of the game.

Collective team ball was the theme for the Chippewas, as it has been throughout the entire season. The Chippewas’ five starters all averaged double digit scoring throughout the season, and Miamis’ Dickerson was the only player to average double digit scoring, with 19.8 points per game.

Dickerson took command of her team but it wasn’t enough with her low field goal percentage and the strong offense presented by the Chippewas. Presley Hudson came on strong for the Chippewas in the second half and scored a total of  points in the game. The leading scorers Reyna Frost and Kelly dominated while both shooting over 50 percent in the game.

The Chippewas will play the winner of the Buffalo Bulls verses Western Michigan game and they will have a chance to win the women’s MAC Championship game on Saturday.