Courtesy of UBBulls.com
BUFFALO, NY – Former UPrep star and currentUniversity at Buffalo sophomore Jeenathan Williams scored 24 of his career high 26 points in the second half, including the go ahead basket with just 15 seconds left as the Bulls came back to defeat Ohio, 76-73, Tuesday night inside Alumni Arena.
The Bulls trailed for over 32 minutes in the game, but scored 50 points in the second half, riding the hot hand of Williams and senior Antwain Johnson, who scored a season-best 18 points, 11 of those coming in the second half.
UB got off to slow start as the Bobcats led for the entire first half, leading by as many as 10 at 22-12 with 7:58 left. The Bulls would close the lead to three before Ohio took a five-point lead into the break.
Ohio scored the first two points of the second half to go up by seven, but a 12-4 run gave the Bulls their first lead of the night on a corner three from Johnson.
Trailing by four with 10:05 left, Williams began to take over for the Bulls. The sophomore scored 13 straight points for UB helping keep the game tied at 64-64 with 5:29 left. Three straight points from Johnson then put the Bulls ahead 67-64 with 4:19 remaining, but the game was far from over.
The lead changed hands four times over the final two minutes. Senior Davonta Jordan pulled the Bulls back ahead with a layup with 1:53 left and Johnson then made a huge play on the defensive end, drawing a charge on Ohio’s Jason Preston.
Following a Buffalo miss, the Bobcats regained the lead 73-72 with 34 seconds left, but the Bulls fed the hot hand as Williams converted down low for a pair to put the Bulls back up 74-73. In the final seconds of the night, Preston tried to give Ohio the lead, but sophomore Josh Mballa had one of his four blocked shots. Following the ensuing inbounds, junior Jayvon Graves forced a bad Ohio pass giving the Bulls the ball back. Graves then hit a pair of free three throws to seal it.
“Just a hard-fought win tonight and I am proud of our guys for sticking with it,” said head coach Jim Whitesell. “I thought AJ did a great job of keeping us in the game in the first half, just with his effort and willingness to stick with it because nobody had their offensive game going. For Jeenathan in the second half, it just shows his maturity and ability to regroup, not having a great first half. We’re going to have a lot of close games like this so its good to see the guys starting to understand what it takes to win them.”
Williams finished with a career best 26 points as he was 10-of-17 from the floor, while adding seven rebounds.
Johnson added 18 points and four rebounds, while Jordan had 12 points and a game-high eight assists. Mballa had nine points, nine rebounds, and four blocks, and Graves added nine points.
It was a pretty even affair as both teams had 37 rebounds and the 10 starters combined for 147 of the 149 points scored between the two teams.
Buffalo turned the ball over just four times in the second half where they scored 50 points for the first time in a half since the second game of the season against Nazareth.
The Bulls have now won six straight meetings against Ohio.
Former Northstar Christian star Miles Brown grabbed three rebounds in 12 minutes of action.
UB returns to the road on Saturday afternoon when the Bulls will play Central Michigan at 2pm.