Xavier 76, Toledo 73
No, 8 Illinois 77, Ohio 76
Buffalo 74, Towson 65
(Click Read More for details . . . )
CINCINNATI, Ohio - Toledo pushed Xavier to the limit on Friday afternoon but came up on the short end of a 76-73 decision to the host Musketeers (3-0) in its final game of the Xavier Invitational. The Rockets (1-2) led for over 31 minutes in the contest, including a 12-point margin in the first half.
"We led for the majority of the game today and we just need to learn how to finish and make plays down the stretch," Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk said. "I saw a ton of growth and our new guys contributed a lot during this tournament. We had a very good chance to win all three games and it's disappointing to come away with only one victory."
Freshman Ryan Rollins and senior Marreon Jackson paced the Rocket attack with 20 and 19 points, respectively. Junior Setric Millner Jr. also had a big game, registering his first collegiate double-double with 17 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Sophomore Kyky Tandy topped the Musketeers with 24 points, while senior Paul Scruggs tallied 15 points, seven assists and six boards.
Toledo shot 38.6 percent from the field and was 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) from behind the three-point arc. Xavier posted a 43.1 shooting mark and was 6-of-22 (27.3 percent) from three-point range.
UT held a 47-39 lead with 15:30 left in the game. Xavier, however, rallied and exchanged leads with Toledo. The Rockets went up one last time (65-64) with 2:59 remaining. Xavier then reeled off six straight points and held off UT late for the 76-73 decision.
Champaign Ill. – Led by a career-high 31 points from junior guard Jason Preston, the Ohio Bobcats (2-1) pushed eighth-ranked Illinois (3-0) to the brink, before ultimately falling in the final seconds, 77-75, inside of the State Farm Center Friday afternoon.
"I'm disappointed that we didn't win," second year head coach Jeff Boals said. "I thought we deserved to win. I am super proud of our guys. They battled for 40 minutes, and we just happened to come up short at the tail end. To come in here against a top-10 team in the country on day three and game three, the fight, heart and toughness that our guys showed was great. I could not be more proud of where we are and overall just really proud of them."
Preston finished the game with a career-high 31 points, going 13-of-23 from the field and 3-of-4 from three-point range, grabbed six boards, dished out eight assists and had zero turnovers. Redshirt junior forward Ben Vander Plas finished with 20 points, going 8-of-18 from the field, while grabbing five rebounds. Senior forward Dwight Wilson III finished with 12 points, a team-high eight boards and one block.
For Illinois, Ayo Dosunmu finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and eight assists, while Kofi Cockburn finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Overall, Ohio shot 47.7 percent from the field, 47.4 percent from three-point range and were 4-of-9 from the free throw line, while Illinois shot 48.3 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and were 15-of-24 from the free throw line. The Illini out-rebounded the Bobcats, 45-25, while Ohio dished out 16 assists to their 14. The Bobcats also forced 16 turnovers and scored 21 points off of them, while Ohio only turned the ball over seven times.
Back-to-back layups from Preston and Vander Plas and then back-to-back three pointers from sophomore guard Miles Brown and Preston gave the Bobcats a 31-30 lead with 2:51 left in the first half. After Illinois retook the lead, a jumper from Preston tied the game at 34-34. However, Illinois hit a free throw in the final seconds, sending the game to the locker room with Ohio trailing 35-34.
Ohio battled to a four-point lead with 1:56 remaining in the game. After an Illini three edged the hosts in front, Preston hit a jumper to move OU in front 75-74 with seven ticks left, but Illinois canned three free throws to pull out its victory.
BUFFALO, NY – Behind career highs of 28 points and 12 rebounds from junior Jeenathan Williams, the Buffalo Bulls opened their 2020-21 season with a 74-65 victory over Towson as part of Bubbleville at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
It had been over 260 days since the last time the Bulls took the court and they showed energy from the opening tip, forcing Towson into 12 first-half turnovers. UB struggled to find its shooting touch, but it didn't matter as the Bulls got plenty of career performances.
Williams, a Rochester, NY native, scored a career-best 28 points on 12-of-22 shooting. He added a career best 12 boards and two assists.
Senior Jayvon Graves, who was named a preseason All-MAC first-team selection, also scored 20 points while chipping in six rebounds, five assists, and five steals.
UB led for nearly the entire 40 minutes as Towson had just one lead at 7-6. From there, Buffalo went on a 7-0 run, capped off on a layup from Williams.
With the Bulls ahead 26-22, Buffalo went on another run, scoring the next 11 points, seven of those coming from Williams, as the Bulls pulled ahead by 15. A pair of free throws from junior Josh Mballa gave the Bulls their largest lead of the game at 41-23 with 16 seconds left in the first half. Buffalo ended up taking a 41-25 lead into the break.
Towson came out of the break and scored the first nine points of the second half to pull within seven, but a Williams jumper ended the run. UB began to pull away late in the second half and maintained a double-digit lead until the final 10 seconds.