Valley's Zac Warden (22) shoots over Buffalo's Bradley Harris (32) Friday night at Valley.
SMITHERS, W.Va. - With Valley's jump shooters struggling a bit to find the range, Greyhounds leading scorer Zac Warden needed to look elsewhere for a bit of help. He found quite the backup plan in his fellow frontcourt mate.Sophomore center Druw Bowen exploded for 29 points and 10 rebounds with Warden adding 20 points and seven boards, and all five Greyhounds swarmed on defense in dusting off visiting Buffalo 66-53 on Friday night.The Greyhounds (7-1) used a 12-0 run in the second quarter and an 11-0 spurt to start the third quarter to bury Buffalo.During those runs and throughout much of the night, Valley kept Buffalo's guards out of the lane and the Bison fell into the trap of taking contested jump shots that went begging much more often than not."Our big kids, they dominated the boards and I think both of them had 20 and we hit the boards," Valley coach Joe McCoy said. "We've been playing good here the last two or three games and it comes down to defense, rebounding, and foul shots and the last three games we've done pretty good."Warden's night was no surprise, as he averages 18.6 points, but Valley's second-leading scorer, Henry Barron-Houchins, scored just one point after coming into Friday averaging 13.6.
In all, the Greyhounds were 0 for 9 from 3-point distance but shot 57.4 percent (27 for 47) from 2-point range, buoyed largely by Bowen and Warden, who shot a combined 20 for 30."The last few games I've been scoring most of the points but it was good to see someone else throw in tonight," Warden said. "Any given night, any of the starters can score."We rebounded really well today and we kept them from [penetrating into the lane]."
"They were tough down low, I just had to get the rebounds and put them back up, post-up, and do what I had to do," Bowen said.Buffalo (6-3) was limited to just 16-for-46 shooting from the floor and looked out of sync from the get-go."It was a classic case of not showing up," Bison coach Chuck Elkins said. "We failed to show up in the first half. In the second half we shot a little better but we shot terrible all night. I honestly don't think we were ready to play. We played a good game [Thursday] night and I won't take anything from Valley, they've got a good, solid basketball team, but we didn't play well."While Valley's inside duo racked up points and rebounds, senior wing player Raeshawn Breckenridge was finding other ways to affect the game.He scored just eight points on only eight shots and instead turned into a distributor, recording seven assists to go with nine rebounds, four steals and two blocks.
"He's our leader," McCoy said. "He just makes plays for us. We've got to put the ball in his hands because he makes things happen. He'll penetrate and he dishes off to others - it's a well-rounded team. We feel good right now, we've just got to keep it up."Buffalo was left without a double-digit scorer with John Hodges leading the way with nine points.Starter Bradley Harris was in foul trouble all evening, and after getting hit with three in the first half was ejected just 1:33 into the third quarter after being called on a blocking foul and a technical foul immediately after.Corey Hoshor and Isaiah Robinson each added eight points for Buffalo.Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.