The last quarterfinal match-up was between the #11 ranked Miami Redhawks and the #3 ranked Buffalo Bulls. The Redhawks come into the game with a 13-19 record and the Bulls had 17-14 record. The Redhawks defeated #6 Ball State Tuesday night to get to the quarterfinals.
The game started off slow offensively, with Miami getting the opening basket and Buffalo answering right back with a three by Nick Perkins. The defensive pressure by both teams was in full effect early on, as Buffalo led the Redhawks 15-6 with 12:28 to go.
Down 20-17, Miami’s defense stepped up and forced a travel. Just when it looked like the tide was turning, Miami turned the ball over. The Bulls increased their lead to five, leading 23-18 with 8:15 to go. Buffalo capitalized on the poor shooting of Miami to increase their lead to 34-25 with 2:02 to go in the first half.
Even with the poor shooting percentage in the first half, Miami was able to hang on and go into the locker room only trailing by six points. Buffalo was able to shoot 56% from the field, which was one of the main reasons they were up 37-31 at halftime.
The leading scorer for Buffalo was Willie Conner with nine points and for Miami, the leading scorer was Geovonie McKnight with eight points. The Redhawks shot a lackluster 27.6% from the field in the first half, which needed to change in the second half to improve their chances of winning.
Both teams came out shooting at will, as Buffalo was able to take a 46-34 lead with just a few minutes into the second half. Miami fought to stay in it, but the three-ball was stopping any momentum that they gained.
The Bulls kept on fighting hard, with some help from the bench. The Bulls’ bench contributed seventeen points throughout the game, with 11:15 still to go in the second half. Down by eleven with 6:58 to go in the second half, the Redhawks were looking for any kind of offense to compete with the long-range attack from Buffalo.
The Bulls pounded the glass offensively, racking up a total of eleven offensive rebounds with 5:06 still left to play in the game. Miami looked to have one last chance at a comeback, as they forced a Buffalo turnover and called a timeout to regroup. Out of the timeout, the Redhawks scored off a layup.
Buffalo drove right back down the court and drew a foul, going to the free-throw line. After Willie Conner made both free throws, the Redhawks missed a three and it looked like the magic had run out.
The Bulls made a few free throws and a breakaway layup to finish the game with a final score of 94-81. Buffalo advances to the semifinals to face the #2 ranked Ohio Bobcats. That game will take place on Friday, March 11.
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