BUFFALO, NY - Martelle McLemore scored a career-high 24 points and David Kool added 23 points as Western Michigan defeated Buffalo, 85-70, at Alumni Arena on Monday night.
McLemore added nine rebounds, while Donald Lawson had 11 points and seven rebounds. Mike Douglas tied his career high with 10 assists and added nine points.
"For us, it was a much-needed win, obviously. I was very concerned with the emotional state of the team coming into (tonight after the close loss at Kent State and a loss at Akron). We bounced back right away and had a great practice last night.
"I felt good about coming into tonight. It's a very resilient group of guys that we have, and we needed it. Buffalo's excellent, and they are excellent here. To get this win and salvage a road split, expecially after the circumstances at Kent State, is a big win for us."
The Broncos opened the game on a 9-3 run behind five points from Kool and four from Donald Lawson, but Buffalo came back and cut the lead to two, 14-12, at the first media timeout. The Broncos came out of the timeout with an offensive put-back by Flenard Whitfield and Kool post move to start a 9-2 run that put the Broncos up nine, 23-14, on Lawson's hook shot with 8:34 to go in the half.
WMU got careless and turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions as Buffalo cut its deficit to three, 23-20. McLemore got hot and hit threes on back-to-back possessions to start a 22-10 run that put the Broncos up by 15, 45-30, after Kool's fourth three of the half with 1:23 remaining.
Buffalo came back with a three of its own, but on the final possession of the half, Demetrius Ward corralled Kool's miss and laid it in as the buzzer sounded to put WMU up 14, 47-33, at halftime.
The Broncos made 17-of-29 shots (.586) in the opening frame, including 7-of-14 three-pointers, and hit all six free throws. The Bulls made 12-of-28 shots (.429), including 3-of-9 triples. The Broncos out-rebounded Buffalo, 17-12, and both teams were plagued by turnovers, with nine for WMU and eight for UB.
The teams opened the second half trading baskets until Buffalo cut the lead to 10, 57-47, with four points on one possession with a free throw, offensive rebound and three-pointer with 14:23 to go. The teams traded baskets to keep the game at 10, 59-49, with 13:26 to play when WMU went on a 14-2 run to push its lead to 22, 73-51.
The Broncos shot 58.5 percent (31-53) for the game, while making a season-high 11 three-pointers in 22 attempts. Buffalo shot 43.3 percent, but made just 6-of-20 three-pointers.
"I was in a slump, and I just tired to stay confident," said McLemore, who made 8 of 15 from the field and 4 of 7 from the behind the arc. "Pretty much the whole team stayed confident in me and told me to keep shooting, and today I got the shots to fall."
"It was the old Martelle," Kool said. "We all knew it was just a matter of time. ... It just goes to show you what hard work does. He's been putting in the extra hours in the gym. It's the same old story. The work you put in is the outcome you get."
WMU won the battle of the boards, 32-29, but Buffalo had an 18-7 edge in second chance points. The Broncos scored 34 points in the paint.
Rodney Pierce led UB with 29 points, but he shot just 10-of-26, while Calvin Betts had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Western Michigan returns to University Arena for a two-game homestand beginning on Thursday at 7 p.m. against Miami. The Broncos finish the week meeting Bowling Green Saturday at 2 p.m.
Buffalo goes on the road for two games, facing Central Michigan Thursday and Toledo Saturday. Both are 7 p.m. tipoffs.
Courtesy of Western Michigan Athletics.