MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men's basketball team dropped a 66-63 contest to Buffalo in Mid-American Conference action Wednesday evening at Worthen Arena.
The back-and-forth game featured 11 lead changes in the second half, but a 3-pointer by Buffalo's Will Regan with 12 seconds left and the Bulls leading by one helped the visitors escape with the win.
Regan's shot initially hit hard off the back of the rim. But instead of a coming down harmlessly for a rebound to give Ball State possession with a chance to take the lead, the ball went straight up into the air above the backboard and fell down through the net.
The shot gave Buffalo a 64-60 lead. Scaife then hit a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left to cut the lead to one, but the Cardinals were forced to foul and Buffalo's Tony Watson knocked down a pair of free throws with 0.2 seconds on the clock. The Bulls then batted away Matt Kamieniecki's long inbounds pass on the final play.
The Cardinals fell to 7-10 on the season and 1-4 in Mid-American Conference play, while the Bulls improved to 7-12 on the year and 2-3 in the league. Ball State will now head to Miami University for a 3 p.m. Saturday matchup that will be televised by the Ball State Sports Network.
Scaife, who was honored before Wednesday's game for becoming the 26th member of Ball State's 1,000-point club, was 5-of-11 from the floor, including 3-of-6 from behind the arc.
Kamieniecki was a spotless 4-of-4 from the floor and added a free throw for nine points to go with a game-high eight boards. Jesse Berry dished out five assists and had added nine points.
Buffalo's Javon McCrea led all scorers with 24 points. The Bulls pounded the ball inside and put the Cardinals in foul trouble early. Majok and fellow post player Zach Fields each had two fouls just over six minutes into the game, and Majok ended up playing a season-low 19 minutes.
Regan, who hit the late 3-pointer, added 17 points for Buffalo, while Watson scored nine points and handed out a game-high seven assists.
The Cardinals shot 41.2 percent (21-of-51) from the floor, while the Bulls made 45.8 percent (22-of-48) of their field goals. Ball State, which has now out-rebounded all five of its MAC opponents, held the advantage in rebounds (33-30), points off turnovers (15-6), bench points (14-9) and steals (10-4). BSU forced 20 turnovers in the game.
Ball State scored the first five points of the game and opened up on a 9-1 run. The Cardinals held the advantage throughout the first half, but the Bulls managed to tie the game at 29-29 with 1:45 left before halftime. Scaife made a layup soon after to help the Cardinals take a 31-29 lead into the intermission.
Buffalo grabbed its first advantage at 34-33 on a 3-pointer from Auraum Nuiriankh early in the second half, and then the teams began trading the lead.
Chris Bond gave Ball State its final lead at 60-59 on a layup with 2:55 to play, but McCrea responded with a dunk on the other end to put Buffalo back on top.
Scaife uncharacteristically missed a pair of free throws with 44 seconds on the clock and the deficit still 61-60, and then Regan knocked down his 3-pointer to help the Bulls to the road win.