DEKALB, IL - (UB) The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team snapped its three-game losing skid in a big way, by scoring a season-high 95 points in a 95-83 win over Northern Illinois at the Convocation Center on Saturday afternoon. Five Bulls scored in double-figures, led by Rodney Pierce who had 17 points, including the 1,000th of his UB career.
Buffalo (11-7, 4-3 MAC) shot a season-best 56 percent from the field, including 61 percent in the second half to pull away for the victory.
It was a tight contest for much of the first half with neither team leading by more than seven points. Dave Barnett was an early spark for the Bulls as he scored all of his eight points in the first stanza. The Bulls held a 47-42 lead at the break.
The Bulls never relinquished the lead in the second half thanks to a bevy of backdoor plays that resulted in easy layups. John Boyer found Calvin Betts for a layup to put the Bulls up 61-50 with 15:37 left.
Jawaan Alston hit a baby hook in the lane to put the Bulls up by 15 and Sean Smiley soon followed with a jumper to extend the UB lead to 17 with 9:53 left.
Northern Illinois (8-11, 4-3 MAC) cut the Buffalo lead to 89-79 with 4:31 left. But Boyer silenced the Huskie threat by draining a three-pointer from the top of the key with the shot clock expiring to put the Bulls ahead, 92-79, with 2:18 remaining.
Boyer finished with 12 points, five rebounds and eight assists. Smiley scored 13 points and Mitchell Watt added 12 points – his best scoring output in 15 games. Betts also reached double-figures with 11 points and added six rebounds.
It was a balanced attack as nine UB players scored at least six points.
Heading into the game, Northern Illinois led the MAC in rebounding. The Bulls outrebounded the Huskies, 38-34. Buffalo committed only eight turnovers for its second straight game with single-digit turnovers.
Pierce became the 16th player in school history to score 1,000 career points and just the 10th player to do so in three seasons.
Buffalo will return home to host Western Michigan on Monday night at Alumni Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm.