Tonawanda News — AMHERST — Javon McCrea scored a game-high 20 points to lead the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team to an 84-63 blowout victory over Western Michigan Wednesday night in front of 3,052 at Alumni Arena.
After a slow start in the opening three minutes, Bulls head coach Bobby Hurley made a wholesale lineup change, bringing an entirely new five-man lineup into the game to replace his starters. Hurley said the team just needed a charge, and that’s exactly what McCrea gave the Bulls when he re-entered the game, bludgeoning the Broncos with a one-man 10-0 run to give UB a lead it would never relinquish.
“We started out a little flat but we picked it up — the defensive intensity got a bit better. We got great contributions from a lot of players tonight, five guys were in double figures,” Hurley said. “Javon was his usual self. If he doesn’t pick up his second foul with seven minutes to go in the first half I think he has an even better game than he did tonight.”
Point guards Shannon Evans and Jarod Oldham combined for 15 assists for the Bulls and only three turnovers. Hurley said that the point guard play for the Bulls has been tremendous.
“It’s what I thought we (were capable of) offensively coming into this year,” Hurley said of his team’s offensive performance against WMU. “I know there are a lot of good players on our team and the attention certain guys get just opens things up for other guys. I thought Shannon and Jarod are really dissecting the defense really well — where they’re finding the open guys in the half court. We got Will (Regan) who can make shots, and there is a lot of players on this team that can make plays on offense. I thought it was maybe our best offensive game of the year.”
Western Michigan head coach Steve Hawkins called the result of the game “a good, old-fashioned tail-kicking.”
“They got after us after about the first three minutes, and then the rest of the game I thought they were the more aggressive team,” Hawkins said. “They beat us to the ball all night long and McCrea did what he did, and we let him do everything he did and that they like to do. McCrea was a beast inside.”
The Bulls out-rebounded the Broncos, 41-27 for the game and 15-7 on the offensive glass, while forcing 18 WMU turnovers.
Late in the first half, Evans brought the entire arena to its feet with a spectacular play to give the Bulls a commanding 32-16 lead with about six minutes remaining until halftime. Oldham got out in transition off a defensive rebound and found a streaking Evans in the paint with a behind-the-back pass. Evans then fired a behind-the-shoulder bullet to Justin Moss under the basket for an easy lay up.
Evans said his team likes to have fun on offense, but first everybody has to play well on the defensive end.
“We like to run and transition to have fun — share the ball, like that play where Jarod threw it back to me and I went behind the back to Justin. That was fun to us, everyone was laughing and having fun,” Evans said. “But in order for us to do that we have to play defense and apply pressure from the point guard position on the defender, and after that it’s all fun and games from there.”
UB has now won all nine games at home this season. Other scorers for the Bulls in double figures were Evans (17), Josh Freelove (14), Justin Moss (14) and Will Regan (10). WMU’s Shayne Whittington scored a team-high 13 points for the Broncos.Follow @tonanewssports and sports editor @MattParrino on Twitter for complete area sports coverage.