For the first time ever this season, Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball is on a three-game winning streak. The Bulls are playing their best basketball as of late and that showed up again when they faced Northern Illinois. Knocking down the Huskies 65-45, the Bulls showed off their bench depth and a rigid defensive game.
For a while, it sure looked like a Soccer match. The Bulls opened up with a 1-0 lead off of a Blake Hamilton free throw and that was all she wrote for the first five minutes. Ikenna Smart finally broke through with a dunk and started to settle in with a solid lead. With 8:11 left in the first half the Bulls held a 14-4 gap over the Huskies.
The remainder of the half saw the Bulls stall out pretty badly as NIU’s Eugene German used the opportunity to get the Huskies back into the game. German reeled in 10 points to tie the game back up at 25-25 at halftime.
NIU’s chances of staying in the game were short lived as their star of the night in German quickly became non-existent. Thank the amazing perimeter defense that UB’s guards have this season, because it practically won the game. German never sunk a bucket in that second half as the Bulls went on a statement run.
CJ Massinburg quickly became the story to couple together with UB’s defense. The sophomore hit three big triples, sent in some layups, and got to the line without problem. We’re used to it now, but the role he has on this team even when they aren’t performing well offensively is so crucial.
With a ten point gap in the final minutes, NIU finally had enough and UB was able to stretch the lead out to the final 65-45 margin. The Bulls shot 45% on the night and did amazing despite an awful 18 turnovers. The Huskies on the other hand were held to a lackluster 32% and a 1-13 performance from beyond the arc.
Massinburg finished the night with 17 points on 5-10 shooting. From there, it was an even scoring distribution as the depth of UB’s bench showed. The other notable performances were Perkins (11), Conner (8), and Caruthers (7).
Moving to 6-5 in the MAC and a .500 overall record, the Bulls are now in a five-way tie for second place in the conference. If the MAC Tournament started today, they would own the fourth seed and a quarterfinals bye. Buffalo now heads out on a crucial road trip where they’ll face Bowling Green on Saturday. Tip-off is at noon and the game will air on Spectrum Sports.