Western Illinois (1-1) vs. Buffalo (1-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 16, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ford Center (11,000) -- Evansville, Indiana. Television: None. Home Record: W. Illinois 1-0, Buffalo 0-1. Away Record: W. Illinois 0-1, Buffalo 1-1. Neutral Record: W. Illinois 0-0, Buffalo 0-0. Conference Record: W. Illinois 0-0, Buffalo 0-0. Series Record: Buffalo leads, 6-5.
GAME NOTES: The Buffalo Bulls shoot for a second win in as many days as they clash with the Western Illinois Leathernecks as part of the 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana.
After opening the 2012-13 campaign with back-to-back defeats versus Princeton and Florida State, the Bulls finally came out on the positive side of a decision as they topped Evansville in this same building by a score of 56-50.
Meanwhile, Western Illinois split the first two games on its calendar. The squad crushed Wabash in the opener last weekend, 71-39, at home and then was humbled by SIU-Edwardsville on the road Wednesday, 62-50.
The Bulls, who once shared an affiliation with the Leathernecks in the Summit League (formally known as the Mid-Continent), lead the all-time series by a count of 6-5.
Both of these teams will be back in action again tomorrow for this tourney, as Buffalo goes up against Yale and the Leathernecks tangle with host Evansville.
The Leathernecks were keeping pace with SIU-Edwardsville after 20 minutes of action earlier this week, trailing by just three points at the break (31-28), but then it all began to unravel as the visitors shot a miserable 4-of-14 from the floor in the second half, including 1-of-5 behind the three-point line. Terell Parks held up his end of the bargain with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field, but that just meant the rest of the roster combined to make only 8-of-27. Ceola Clark accounted for 15 points as he knocked down 3-of-6 on the perimeter, but he also notched three of the unit's 18 turnovers. Parks leads the team in scoring after two games with 16.5 ppg as he shoots an impressive 63.6 percent from the field, but what's not so wonderful is his feeble 5-of-16 accuracy at the charity stripe. Clark accounts for another 13.5 ppg thanks to his 6-of-11 shooting on the outside.
Buffalo was down by two at the break against Evansville on Thursday, but in the second half the Bulls used some skill and added a touch of luck in order to take control and capture the six-point win. The visitors managed to hold the Purple Aces to just 2-of-11 shooting behind the three-point line after intermission and watched the hosts knocked down just 1-of-5 at the free-throw line which was crucial in such a tight meeting. On offense, Javon McCrea sank 7-of-11 shots from the floor for the Bulls, leading to his team-best 14 points, adding eight rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots, while reserve Cameron Downing tacked on 12 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting effort. Through three games, McCrea leads the program in not only scoring (17.7 ppg), but also assists (6.7 apg), not to mention blocked shots (2.3 bpg) which will make him a tough matchup for many opponents this season.
Having to turn around and head right back out on the floor won't be easy for the Bulls, but as long as McCrea gets his numbers and the squad can keep tabs on Clark and Parks they should be alright again today.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Buffalo 62, Western Illinois 54
11/16 10:47:52 ET