Bowling Green State University senior center Cameron Black posted a career-high 19 points to go along with 11 rebounds, yet the Falcons could not overcome 16 turnovers and a hot-shooting Buffalo squad on Senior Day in an 88-65 loss at Buffalo in the two teams' regular season finale Saturday afternoon in Alumni Arena.
BGSU's 16 turnovers led to 25 Buffalo points, as the Bulls also drained eight three-pointers and was 18-of-23 (78.3 percent) from the free throw line to hand the Falcons the loss.
The loss drops BGSU to 12-19 overall and finish the MAC season at 6-12. With the win Buffalo moves to 19-9 overall and clinched the MAC East Division Championship at 13-5 in conference play.
Behind Black's fifth double-double of the season, Jehvon Clarke had 11 points and five assists, while forward Spencer Parker chipped in with nine points and four rebounds in limited minutes due to foul trouble. Off the bench, senior Craig Sealey had eight points, six boards and three steals, while Richaun Holmes' tallied three blocks to place him in a tie with Otis Polk as the career blocks leader in BGSU history with 159 rejections.
Buffalo's Javon McCrea led the way with a career-high 34 points, as he was 13-of-18 from the floor and 7-of-10 from the free throw line for the game. Guard Jarryn Skeete added 11 points off the bench for the Bulls, while senior guard Joshua Freelove had 10 points in the win.
The Falcons weathered an early three-point storm from the Bulls to start the contest, as back-to-back baskets from Black and Holmes in the paint pushed the visitors in orange out to a 7-6 lead with 16:46 to go in the opening half.
The two teams would trade the lead back and forth four more times over the next several minutes, as a jump-hook in the lane from Black at the 14:11 mark gave the Falcons a one point lead at 12-11.
The Bulls then went to its senior in McCrea as the forward hit back-to-back mid-range jumpers to kick start a 9-2 run to put the home team in front by six at 20-14 with 10:32 to go in the first half of play.
An old-fashion three-point play from Parker, followed by two straight baskets from Sealey, put the Falcons within two at 23-21, only to see the Bulls use the free throw line and the three-point arc to push its lead to seven at 28-21 at the eight minute mark of the first half.
BGSU was able to get baskets from Black, Anthony Henderson and Holmes over the rest of the half, however, the defense could not stop McCrea, as the favorite for the MAC Player of the Year, scored nine of the final 11 points of the half for the Bulls to lead Buffalo to a 41-31 lead at the halftime break.
Bowling Green struggled to protect the ball on the offensive end, coughing up the ball nine times over the final 20 minutes of play and failed to get a series of stops to get back into the contest in the second half.
Buffalo opened up the second half the exact way they managed to pull away in the first, as a jump shot from McCrea and a three-pointer from Freelove pushed the Bulls' lead to 13 at 46-33 with 18:30 to play.
BGSU battled back to cut the Buffalo lead to nine on back-to-back buckets from Black and Clarke at 48-39, only to see the home team take advantage of two Falcon turnovers which jump-started a 13-1 run over the next eight minutes to run out to a 21 point lead at 61-40 on two straight McCrea free throws.
Down 21 with 10:44 to play, BGSU was able to use a 9-1 spurt late in the half to cut the Buffalo lead to 13 at 71-58 on a fast break layup from Henderson, yet the Bulls refused to take its foot off the gas pedal and pulled away down the stretch to pick up the 88-65 home win.
BGSU was 26-of-57 (45.6 percent) from the field overall, including shooting 13-of-26 (50 percent) in the second half of play, yet struggled on the defensive end where the Bulls shot 31-of-63 (49.2 percent) and 17-of-31 (54.8 percent) in the second half.
The Falcons were outscored 25-5 in points off turnovers, 38-32 in points in the paint and 13-10 in second chance points.
Bowling Green (12-19, 6-12 MAC) will remain on the road for its first round MAC Championship Tournament game on Monday night, March 10th. The Falcons will play at either Miami or Northern Illinois.