BUFFALO, NY – (UB Release) Zach Filzen hit a leaning jump shot in the lane with 12 second left to lift the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team to a 59-57 win over Western Michigan at Alumni Arena on Saturday night. The win completed the sweep of the Mid-American Conference’s West Division and extended the Bulls’ winning streak to eight games.
Alumni Arena was rocking in front of a crowd of 4,561 – UB’s largest of the season. Buffalo’s “sixth man” played a huge part of the game’s final moments. Following Filzen’s jumper to give the Bulls the lead, Western Michigan’s Matt Stainbrook was on the line for two throws with 1.1 seconds left. In front of a deafening crowd, he missed both free throws and Dave Barnett grabbed the rebound to seal the win for the Bulls.
Buffalo (16-6, 9-2 MAC) looked to be in control early in the game, jumping out to a 14-4 lead. The Bulls held the Broncos to just 27 percent shooting in the first half and led at the break, 27-23.
UB extended its lead to 30-23 early in the second half, before Western Michigan mounted a 19-5 scoring run to turn a seven-point deficit into a seven-point advantage with 14:04 remaining.
Western Michigan led 46-39 with 12:06 left, before the Bulls went on a 7-0 scoring run and a Tony Watson jumper knotted the contest at 46 with 10:44 remaining. Watson nailed his only three-pointer of the game to give the Bulls a 54-50 lead with 6:03 remaining.
Missed free throws nearly cost the Bulls as they were unable to extend their lead. Following a pair of missed free throws by Titus Robinson, Western Michigan’s Mike Douglas scored and got fouled. His free throw put the Broncos up, 57-56, with 24 seconds remaining. Following a UB timeout, Filzen hit a twisting jumper in the paint to win it for the Bulls.
“If you came for a beauty contest, I guess you were wondering where you were after awhile,” head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “I thought our guys persevered and we got through some tough times and got ourselves back into the game. I thought our crowd played a huge part right down to the end. It was great to have that kind of support.”
Mitchell Watt led all scorers with 16 points and added eight rebounds and a season-high six blocked shots. He scored 15 of his points in the second half. Javon McCrea sparked the Bulls early, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the first half. Filzen also reached double-figures with 10 points.
Buffalo outrebounded Western Michigan, 44-37, and held the Broncos to 34 percent shooting for the game.
Stainbrook led the Broncos with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Buffalo will next play at Kent State on Tuesday night.