Samarco’s buzzer-beater caps off successful Winter Break

As BGSU’s student population was busy making their way back to campus, Falcon guard Martin Samarco was busy making baskets, scoring a career high 43 points en route to a 74-73 Falcon victory over Buffalo.

Samarco scored the final basket of the game, a dramatic 3-pointer from the corner with 2.8 seconds remaining to give BG (10-4, 1-0 MAC) the win in their Mid-American Conference opener.

“In the huddle, I told Coach I was going for the win but he said we would just draw a play up,” Samarco said. “When the play did not work, I came to the ball and I knew I was going to make it.”

After the shot fell, players celebrated as Anderson Arena erupted in cheers. Meanwhile, the Bulls (8-6, 0-1 MAC) overthrew an inbound pass to the other side of the court that would have given them the win.

“We got very lucky they threw the ball away because we were jumping up and down celebrating and they were going to lay it in,” said BG coach Dan Dakich.

The Falcons trailed by 11 points with 8:30 remaining in the second half and weren’t able to regain the lead until there were less than two minutes to play. With the win, BG improved to 29-5 since the 2001-02 season when holding a one possession lead or less in the final minute of a game.

“We’re playing undermanned, two starters out, what a gutsy deal by our guys – I can’t say enough about them,” Dakich said.

Scoring his first career double-double for the Falcons was sophomore Brian Guerin, tallying 10 points and 10 assists after starting in place of the suspended Ryne Hamblet.

“Basically, I just wanted to play my role,” Guerin said. “I brought the ball in fast, like Coach always tells us, and I looked for Samarco and saw some action from the help side with people like Nate Miller when they were open. Also I just hit the open shot when I had it.”

BG led by as many as 16 in the first half, before seeing its lead dwindle two just one point by halftime. Leading the comeback charge for Buffalo was Eric Moore, who connected on 11-of-16 3-point attempts and scored 35 points in all.

Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon credits a staunch defense with keeping the Bulls in the game early on.

“We started to play a little harder and less hesitant,” Witherspoon said. “They also missed a few shots that they seemed to make down the stretch. Our defense was also a little bit more aggressive.”

In the end, Samarco and the Falcons were just too much for Witherspoon’s squad to overcome. Samarco’s 43 points was the most for a Falcon since Keith McLeod had 42, also against Buffalo, in the 2002 season and is the most by a MAC player this season.

“I started getting comfortable when they were going for my shot fake early,” Samarco said. “But this all started in practice as were prepared for this game. I just got of to a good start and kept rolling with it.”

Since Winter Break let out for BGSU students, the Falcons have won six-of-seven games and find themselves tied with Ohio University at the top of the MAC for total wins (10). These two teams will square off Thursday in Athens as BG looks to stay perfect in MAC play.