Dropping back-to-back games at home definitely didn’t sit right with Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball. UB snapped their two-game skid with a journey to Athens, Ohio to take on the Bobcats. Fighting tooth and nail, the Bulls put a scare into their fans, but ultimately picked up the win by an 83-79 margin after late CJ Massinburg free throws.
Buffalo did a great job getting settled in during the first half. The Bulls saw strong early minutes from both Willie Conner and Nick Perkins. UB shot the ball at 55% in the first half to help solidify a 40-35 advantage going into the next twenty minutes.
UB’s biggest problem was in the turnovers department. Half of Ohio’s first half points were off of turnovers and if UB didn’t clean that up, then there would certainly be trouble to deal with in the second half.
The second half began with amazing play from both Raheem Johnson and David Kadiri. Johnson didn’t particularly light up the box score, but he had three timely blocks and a momentum changing put back dunk. With eleven minutes left, UB had a 10 point, 65-55 lead. But, the real trouble was just beginning.
UB’s offense stalled and Blake Hamilton — who finished with 7 turnovers to 5 assists — lost control at the point. With the game tightly contested within a four point gap, the Bulls elected to run Dontay Caruthers and CJ Massinburg at the one instead. With the game coming down to the wire, Massinburg snatched a rebound that would ultimately win the game with less than two seconds left.
After having been chanted at with the phrase “air-ball” all game by Ohio fans, Massinburg got the last laugh. The sophomore drew a foul after snatching the final board and sunk both free throws to give UB a four point lead—sealing Ohio’s fate.
Massinburg lead the Bulls with 19 points on the night along with a quiet 19 from Willie Conner. It may have been quiet, but Conner’s points all came at times where UB’s offense began to slow and a pair of three-pointers from him was the spark. Buffalo also saw an incredible day from David Kadiri, who finished with 14 points and a perfect 7-7 from the field.
On the defensive end, the Bulls can thank Dontay Caruthers yet again. Caruthers had Ohio’s best scorer in Jaaron Simmons on total lockdown. Simmons finished the night with 15 points on a horrid 4-15 from the field. Buffalo also needs to thank Quate McKinzie, who had 3 crucial steals at important times in the game.
Buffalo now returns home to Alumni Arena this Friday for a senior day square-off with Bowling Green. The Bulls move to 10-7 in the MAC with the win and have a solid shot of getting a bye in the MAC Tournament. Friday’s game will air at 7:00PM on ESPN3.