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The New Name University of Buffalo Gets to First Ever NCAA Big Dance

17 marca, 2015

By Raymond Rolak

CLEVELAND - The University of Buffalo made the correct choice when hiring Bobby Hurley, two years ago as their men’s basketball coach. The New Jersey native son led his charges, (a.k.a.)- The University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, to a 89-84 win over Central Michigan in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game. The Bulls are currently 23-9 on the year and are riding an eight-game winning streak. The Bulls will be going to their first ever NCAA Tournament.

Bulls sophomore guard Shannon Evans had a strong second-half performance, scoring 13 of his 18 points to help earn U. of B. their first MAC tournament championship and automatic NCAA tourney bid. Junior Justin Moss (Romulus, Michigan), the MAC Player of the Year, had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. But it was the inside play of senior forward Xavier Ford, who matched Evans with 18 points, while making three 3-pointers that led the Bulls. Ford was the tournament MVP.

This was the third time that Buffalo faced the Chippewas this year. CMU won both regular-season meetings between the teams. Chris Fowler scored 27 points for Chippewas, 23-8. This was the first CMU title appearance since center Chris Kaman led them in 2003. The Chips will go on to play in the N.I.T.

After the game Hurley talked about his squad. He said, “I’m really proud of my team. I’m proud of the accomplishment that this group achieved. This team has so much heart and really came together when we suffered a tough loss at six and six in the conference (following Valentine Day’s 75-74 loss to CMU), to respond the way we have and to win eight straight games.”

In the NCAA Tournament, as Mid-American Conference Champions, the Bulls will head to Columbus, Ohio, as the #12 seed in the Midwest bracket and will face #5 West Virginia. The game will take place on Friday, March 20th with a time still to be determined. West Virginia is also 23-9 and received an at-large bid following a loss in the Big 12, quarterfinals. The West Virginia-Buffalo winner will face the Maryland-Valparaiso winner on Sunday.

As a player at Duke, Hurley helped fulfill the high hopes that Coach Mike Krzyzewski had for him. Hurley led the Blue Devils to back-to-back NCAA championships in 1991 and 1992 and was named Final Four MVP in 1992. Hurley has previously been an assistant coach for Wagner and an associate head coach for Rhode Island on the staffs of his younger brother Dan.

Hurley was a 2006 inductee into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame, while Krzyzewski was an honored inductee in 1991. Coach K. has the Blue Devils at 29-4. They will be in the NCAA South Regional.