Buffalo picks up an upset over NIU men’s basketball

By Brian Earle

Despite a strong comeback at the end of the game, men’s basketball fell to Buffalo on the road, 59-54, on Saturday.

The Huskies (5-17, 3-7 MAC) had a chance to tie the game with 14 seconds remaining, trailing 57-54, but sophomore wing Abdel Nader’s 3-pointer rimmed out.

“I thought that it was a well-played ballgame on both sides of the floor,” said coach Mark Montgomery. “[Buffalo] is a good team, you can see that they are getting better and it was a hard-fought game on both sides.”

Nader was the lone Huskie to score in double-figures, scoring 13 points, playing in just 19 minutes due to foul trouble.

Sophomore Keith Gray and freshman forward Darrell Bowie each added nine points for the Huskies.

In the first half, the Huskies and the Bulls took their turns going on big runs. With NIU leading 12-11, Buffalo went on an 11-2 to take a 22-14 lead.

The Huskies came storming right back, as redshirt junior Antone Christian hit a 3-pointer that started a 7-0 run to bring the Huskies within one, 22-21.

The Bulls led the Huskies 31-27 going into halftime. The Huskies shot the ball well in the first half as they went 11 of 18 from the field, shooting 61 percent.

The Huskies didn’t play as well in the second half, as they shot nine of 27 from the field, shooting 33 percent.

The Bulls opened up the half on a 6-0 run to jump out to 37-27 lead. The Huskies managed to close the gap to six before the Bulls pushed their lead to 11, 52-41.

The Huskies didn’t go away quietly, as they went on a 13-5 run to close out the game.

Montgomery was happy with the way his team played down the stretch.

“Anytime you go on the road and have a shot to tie it and go to overtime you have to be happy,” Montgomery said.

The Bulls were led by junior forward Javon McCrea with 16 points. Senior guard Tony Watson added 14 points and junior guard Auraum Nuiriankh recorded a double-double, scoring 10 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.