Although the record doesn't concur, the University at Buffalo men's basketball team has shown it can scrap. Despite a mounting pile of defeats, the Bulls turned in commendable efforts last week, losing a pair of road games by a combined three points.
The performances were enough to worry Dan Dakich, whose Bowling Green Falcons visited Alumni Arena Saturday night following a 10-point victory at formidable Ohio. If ever there was the chance of a Falcon letdown, Saturday would be it.
But UB failed to demonstrate any of the moxie Dakich feared, and Bowling Green waltzed to a 70-52 victory in front of 1,423 fans. It was UB's 13th straight loss.
"We didn't execute, didn't dribble well, didn't do a good enough job taking it to the glass," said UB coach Reggie Witherspoon, whose team was coming off a one-point loss at Akron and a two-point defeat at Canisius. "We didn't get it done."
With a 2-18 overall record and an 0-11 mark in the Mid-American Conference, spirited play at home was about the only thing the Bulls could have had going for them Saturday.
"We just didn't play hard," said forward Robert Brown, who finished with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. "Bowling Green played harder than we did. We were sluggish. It was just something we couldn't work ourselves out of, and Bowling Green worked themselves into a lather.
"It was just an embarrassing effort on our part."
The Falcons led by 17 points at halftime and were up by 25 with 4:03 left in the game.
"The scary thing is -- and Ray Charles can see this -- you got Buffalo who took Marshall into overtime (on Dec. 30), was beating Akron and lost at the buzzer, was down to Canisius by 22 and takes a lead and loses it in the end," Dakich said.
"This is a team, sitting in our conference, that could have four or five wins right now."
Five wins this late in the season wouldn't exactly strike fear into most opposing coaches, but Dakich is trying to resurrect his team from a poor start. It began the season 6-10, but has won four straight MAC games.
"I don't understand how (the Bulls) have that record," said Falcon forward Keith McLeod, who scored a game-high 20 points. "They have a lot of good players.
"We couldn't take them lightly. If we did, that (score) could have been switched around."
Bowling Green held only a slight edge in rebounds, 34-31, and actually had more turnovers, 16-14, and committed more fouls, 17-13.
But UB shot only 34 percent from the floor, including 17 percent from behind the three-point arc. Bowling Green made 57 percent of its field goals.
Jason Robinson led the Bulls with 14 points. Damien Foster scored 12.
Bowling Green's Trent Jackson, an alum of Ben Franklin H.S. in Rochester, scored 15 points despite playing on a bum left ankle. Ken Matela added 17 more.
The Bulls trailed by 15 with 4:59 left in the half, but went on a 9-2 run to cut the lead nearly in half.
The Falcons scored the final nine points before halftime to post a 38-21 lead.
Bowling Green built its lead to 25 points when Cory Ryan fed McLeod for a majestic alley-oop dunk with 8:50 left to play. After a brief rally from the Bulls, Bowling Green again pushed its lead to 25 with 4:03 to go before UB closed out the game with a 9-2 run.
One bright note for the Bulls was the return of Gabe Cagwin. The junior point guard, who has been plagued with foot injuries and recently underwent oral surgery, played for the first time since Jan. 24.