If you paid attention to the MAC this year, you’d know that UB having to face Kent to start off the MAC Tournament would be a trap game. It most certainly was as the Bulls fell to the #6 team in a hard fought, foul ridden affair 68-65.
The first half was not an ideal start for the Bulls. The refs officiating the matchup made it extremely clear that they were going to call a tight game—a death sentence for aggressive teams like Kent and Buffalo. By the end of the half, Kent State and Buffalo had 11 and 12 fouls a piece.
Officiating wasn’t the only reason Buffalo trailed 39-32 at the half. The Bulls did not shoot the ball well at only 40% going into the locker room. The only players in the blue and white who were able to score the ball were Blake Hamilton and Nick Perkins. Even worse for the Bulls was Hamilton picking up his third foul late in the half.
The fouls kept coming in the second half but Buffalo was not going to give the game up. With five minutes left, it was a six point game at 59-53 with the Bulls trailing. Blake Hamilton had been reinserted into the offense with four fouls and UB was marching back towards getting the win.
Then, the worst news came.
On an extremely questionable foul, Hamilton received his fifth personal and was disqualified from the game. Nick Perkins and David Kadiri received their respective fifth fouls minutes later.
Buffalo still managed to claw back into it when Willie Conner drew a hard foul on the left corner of the arc and Massinburg also became the beneficiary of a technical foul. Sinking all four shots, UB was a three-pointer away from winning the game.
With eight seconds left the Bulls needed one last heave to tie the game with a play drawn up for Willie Conner. Kent State’s defense unraveled the play and ultimate won the game right there at 68-65.
The game finished with head scratching 56 total fouls. UB and Kent’s stats were pretty even across the board, but Kent held the edge in free throws, shooting seven more overall.
In what is perhaps his final game as a Bull, Blake Hamilton lead UB with 17 points and 5 rebounds on the night. CJ Massinburg finished with 15 and 12 rebounds for a double-double.
With the loss, the Bulls’ season is most likely finished unless they accept a CIT or CBI bid. We’ll talk about the season as a whole next week.