BUFFALO - The Bowling Green men's basketball team led by as many as 12 points in the first half but the Falcons went without a field goal over the final 5:45 of the game to lose to Buffalo 68-65 on the road Saturday evening.
Jordon Crawford became the 41st player in school history to score 1,000 career points on a fastbreak lay-up early in the game. His quick start – scoring 10 points in the first six minutes – helped Bowling Green jump out to a 15-3 lead. The Falcons took a 33-25 lead into the locker room for halftime.
The first three minutes of the second half were critical as the Falcons were unable to build on that eight-point lead. Buffalo used a 10-2 run to tie the score, but Bowling Green did answer back.
A'uston Calhoun hit a three-pointer and quickly followed with a tough lay-up to give the Falcons a 48-42 lead. After a Buffalo basket, Crawford made two free-throws and Richaun Holmes scored on a three-point play after grabbing an offensive rebound.
The Falcons led 53-44 after Holmes' effort but Buffalo came right back with nine straight points to again tie the score. From there, the lead teetered back-and-forth until Calhoun made two free-throws with 3:57 to play to tie the score at 63-63.
Over the next three minutes, neither team was able to score until Buffalo's Javon McCrea scored inside with 31 seconds left for a 65-63 lead. Crawford missed a three-pointer with 14 seconds left and McCrea added two more free-throws to give the Bulls a four-point lead.
Crawford quickly pushed the ball up the floor and was fouled with seven seconds left, making both charity shots to cut the deficit to two. The Falcons fouled Buffalo's Jarryn Skeete with four seconds left and he made 1-of-2 shots to give Bowling Green a chance. Crawford's pull-up three at the buzzer was short and the Bulls escaped with a win.
It was the third consecutive game in which the Falcons had a three-pointer in the air late to decide the outcome. Crawford made a three with six seconds left to beat Eastern Michigan, but missed late shots against Miami and now Buffalo.
Crawford ended with a team-high 18 points and added four assists to just one turnover. Calhoun finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and a blocked shot. Chauncey Orr had a strong game, posting 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, to go with four rebounds and a steal. Richaun Holmes came off the bench for seven points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
As a team, Bowling Green shot just 37 percent from the field. Buffalo made 54 percent of its shots in the second half to finish at 44 percent. The Falcons were 7-of-14 on three-pointers and made 14-of-19 (74 percent) free-throws. Buffalo had a 37-36 rebounding edge but Bowling Green committed just nine turnovers, one fewer than the Bulls.
Bowling Green also had a 30-22 lead on points in the paint despite 21 points and 14 points from Buffalo post player McCrea.
Buffalo improves to 6-12 overall and 1-3 in Mid-American Conference play with the win. Bowling Green falls to 6-11 overall and 1-3 in MAC play, losing three conference games by a combined 12 points. The Falcons will host Kent State Wednesday night in the Stroh Center at 7 p.m.