Riding their first winning streak against Division I opponents, Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball had the opportunity to make it three consecutive games with a matchup against Miami (OH). Buffalo played well to start the game, but their offense and defensive intensity quickly went out the window in the second half—causing the Bulls to drop this game 75-74.
Willie Conner and Nikola Rakićević started the game off hot and helped Buffalo get out to an early 16-8 advantage. It looked like UB had figured out the offensive problems that plagued them in their matchup with Western Michigan. Miami continued to struggle on the offensive side of the ball as the Bulls marched through a 12-5 run.
Conner continued to be the offensive force the Bulls needed in the first half but things went in the wrong direction once the lead stretched to a 31-15 margin. UB’s defense grew lax and let Miami slip back into the picture and if it wasn’t for Conner and Nick Perkins, the halftime lead could’ve been much smaller.
The second half is what doomed the Bulls and put them in a spot they shouldn’t have been in. Like many games this season, the Bulls have had a double digit lead all for naught in the final minutes.
Miami quickly capitalized on the momentum they gained to end the first half and slashed UB’s lead in half. With 8:49 left, David Kadiri tipped a ball into the basket to bring the Bulls up 60-53. That’s when Buffalo’s offense went quiet.
For the entirety of the next seven minutes, Buffalo went without a field goal and Miami clawed their way into a 68-66 lead. With the lead gone, the Bulls finally found some offense and traded blow for blow with the RedHawks. Having another strong day, CJ Massinburg drew a four point play to keep the Bulls tied at 72.
Tied at 74, Miami’s Dion Wade shot the ball with a second left and the refs would call a shooting foul on Blake Hamilton. Questionable as the call was, it would ultimately be the final nail in the coffin of UB’s hopes to winning this game, Wade hit one of his free throws and that would be enough.
The Bulls were lead by another amazing effort from Nick Perkins. His 20 point and 9 rebound effort was almost the second game in a row in which he recorded a double-double. CJ Massinburg and Willie Conner were each incredibly important for the Bulls, bringing in 16 a piece.
Buffalo moves to 3-4 in MAC play with the loss and continues their road trip on Saturday. The Bulls will face the Zips of Akron at 7:30 PM and the game will be streamed on ESPN3.