After a late seven-point lead evaporated, freshman forward Nick Perkins was involved in a pair of critical final-minute plays - one only after a game-tying three-pointer from Jarryn Skeete - and the Buffalo Bulls came out on top of an emotional 98-96 overtime win against crosstown rival Canisius.
Six Bulls scored a dozen points or more as UB and the Golden Griffins traded leads ten times, though Canisius led for only 44 seconds in the final nine minutes and UB did not lead in overtime until Perkins hauled in an overhand pass from Lamonte Bearden and slammed home a two-handed dunk with four seconds left that held up.
The gamewinner only came, though, after Buffalo squandered an 81-74 lead in the last 2:42. Trailing by one with 30 seconds to play, Perkins' shot from the top of the arc was blocked, the freshman was forced to foul Jermaine Crumpton hard on the ensuing fast break, and UB came away lucky to avoid the flagrant foul. Jarryn Skeete sent the Bulls to OT with an off-balance three.
Much of the game swung from even to a multiple-possession Buffalo lead. Blake Hamilton hit a three-pointer late in the first half to give UB a nine-point advantage, but Canisius opened the second half on a 9-2 run to keep it close and then of course finished regulation on a 9-3 run. In a tight game filled with momentum swings, the most important may have been Malcolm McMillan's turnover with 33 seconds remaining in overtime. The refs initially ruled Canisius ball, but after video review awarded possession to UB.
Rodell Wigginton led the Bulls with 8 rebounds, while Lamonte Bearden hit a number of difficult shots and played will in the secondary stats, finishing with 18 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals.
Buffalo next plays, again at home, this coming Wednesday against St. Bonaventure, who beat Canisius 77-70 in their last matchup.