Miami-Ohio (5-8) at Buffalo (5-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 12, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Arena (6,100) -- Buffalo, New York. Television: None. Home Record: Miami 4-2, UB 3-2. Away Record: Miami 1-6, UB 2-5. Neutral Record: Miami 0-0, UB 0-3. Conference Record: Miami 0-1, UB 0-1. Series Record: Miami leads, 21-9.
GAME NOTES: The Buffalo Bulls welcome the Miami-Ohio RedHawks to Alumni Arena for a Mid-American Conference matchup on Saturday evening.
Both teams enter the contest with just five wins, although Miami has faded fast since the beginning of December, dropping six of its last eight games. The RedHawks had a full week to rest up leading into Wednesday's outing against Northern Illinois, but they suffered a 72-61 setback to Northern Illinois in their MAC opener. With the loss, the RedHawks split their four- game homestand and now it's back to the road, where the team has notched only one victory in seven tries this season.
Meanwhile, Buffalo has dropped three of its last four games, including Wednesday's one-sided 86-68 loss at Ohio. Tonight's contest begins a three- game homestand for the Bulls, who are 3-2 at Alumni Arena. They'll host Kent State on Wednesday followed by Bowling Green next weekend.
Miami owns a 21-9 advantage in the all-time series with UB.
The RedHawks went into halftime against NIU tied, 28-28. However, things quickly changed in the second stanza as they allowed the Huskies to shoot a sizzling 63.2 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes, including a 4- of-6 effort from the perimeter and 16-of-20 free throws. The RedHawks did not help their cause with 18 turnovers for the game and a 13-of-22 showing at the charity stripe (.591). Will Felder had a team-high 15 points in the loss, while Reggie Johnson scored 12, and Allen Roberts finished with 11. Whereas a poor defensive effort contributed to Wednesday's loss, the biggest problem area for Miami throughout the season has been on the boards. Coach John Cooper has gone with a guard-heavy lineup, as his team is -8.4 in rebounding margin. Roberts (12.6 ppg), Johnson (10.3 ppg) and Felder (10.1 ppg) are steady contributors along the perimeter, but the RedHawks have sorely lacked an inside presence.
The Bulls will enjoy a considerable size advantage here, and their +5.5 differential on the glass could prove too much for Miami to handle. Wasted possessions have been a problem, as UB is committing 16.4 turnovers per game (-4.7 turnover margin). Javon McCrea, a 52.2-percent shooter from the floor, leads the way with 15.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. However, he also leads the team with 2.5 turnovers per tilt. Will Regan (11.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and Jarod Oldham (10.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg) are also averaging double figures in the scoring column. Like tonight's counterpart, the Bulls struggled defensively the last time they took the floor. While Miami faded in the second half though, UB started way out of sync, as Ohio shot 65 percent from the floor in the opening frame en route to a huge 53-31 halftime lead. McCrea and Jarryn Skeete shared team-high scoring honors with 13 points apiece in the loss.
To the Bulls' credit, they came out much sharper in the second half against OU. Perhaps they can build off that effort now that they are back on their home floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Buffalo 77, Miami-Ohio 72
01/12 10:36:09 ET