#4 Buffalo defeated #5 Kent State in the MAC Quarter-Finals 73–66, leading for all but the first basket of the game, but the Bulls had to hold off a fourth quarter rally by the Falcons which cut the Buffalo lead to one possession in the last minute. Buffalo will face #1 Bowling Green on Friday, March 12 at 10 a.m.
Buffalo would open up a 14 point first half lead, and still led by 9 at the half-time break, as their two guards, sophomore Dyaisha Fair, and freshman Cheyenne McEvans, had big first half performances. Fair had 14 first half points, and added four steals, while McEvans had 8 points. The Bulls shot 57% during the half, while holding Kent to 35% shooting.
The Bulls still led by 12 at the end of the third quarter, but then Kent State suddenly got hot, and began closing in. Kent cut the lead to 3 at 4:35 left, and the Bulls responded by pushing the lead out to 10 with 2:16 left, using two free throws by McEvans, a three pointer by sophomore guard Jessika Schiffer and baskets by junior forward Ade Adeyeye and senior forward Summer Hemphill.
Then, Kent swished three 3-point baskets in a row, all from way beyond the arc, sandwiched around two free throws from Fair. Suddenly, the Bulls lead was 3 with just 0:27 left. But Kent would not score again, and Buffalo added one free-throw by senior guard Hanna Hall and 3 free-throws by Fair to finish the scoring.
Fair finished with 30 points on 8-for-19 shooting, including 3-for-4 from downtown, and 11-for-14 from the charity stripe. Fair also had 6 steals, tying her career high. McEvans finished with 14 and Adeyeye finished with 11. Adeyeye and Hemphill led the team in rebounding, each with 8.
The Bulls are now 15–8 and 11–6 in the MAC.
- Fair has now played in two MAC tournament games, and scored 30 or more each time.
- The Bulls had 24 points off turnovers (most of Fair’s 6 steals were turned into fast-break baskets or free throws), while Kent State only scored 5 points off turnovers. Buffalo committed only 9 turnovers, while Kent committed 19.
- Buffalo defeated Bowling Green twice during the regular season, 82–74 at Alumni Arena on January 13, and 69–68 in overtime at Bowling Green on March 6.
- Two years ago, the last time the MAC had a semi-final, Buffalo was the #4 seed, as they are this year, and the Bulls defeated #1 Central Michigan, on their way to an eventual MAC Championship.
- I just noticed this, I don’t know when it actually happened, but freshman guard Sophia Öjhammar is no longer on the roster. She appeared in 5 games and did not score.