Top-seeded Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball (25-8, 15-3 MAC Reg. Season) took down the #5 Kent State Golden Flashes on Friday night, 78-61, in the MAC Semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena. The win catapults the Bulls to a third MAC Championship game in four years.
Despite the large margin of victory, this game was tight with the Flashes nipping at the Bulls the entire way. UB’s day started off rough because of three quick fouls in the opening three minutes.
Luckily for the Bulls, Jeremy Harris showed up and sunk shot after shot. Harris opened up the night with 11 of UB’s first 15 points, including a pair of threes and a dunk—giving Buffalo a slim two-point edge in the process.
Buffalo pulled away and built a solid lead from there thanks to the likes of CJ Massinburg, Dontay Caruthers and Jayvon Graves. The trio put pressure on both ends of the floor and UB found themselves with a 10 point lead at the half.
Coming out of the half, Buffalo kept the foot on the gas pedal. Massinburg, Perkins, and Harris each put up points on the scoreboard in what felt like no time at all. With 14 minutes left in the half, the Bulls were out to an 18 point lead, but that didn’t stop the Golden Flashes.
Kent’s Jaylin Walker — a Nate Oats disciple from the Romulus days — and Jalen Avery quickly started making shots and clawed the game back to within ten. All of UB’s momentum was gone and the Bulls couldn’t buy a bucket. Three-point shots were nowhere to be found, tip-ins weren’t panning out, and Caruthers even missed a dunk.
Jayvon Graves, already putting in max effort on the day with three blocks, finally ended the Bulls’ cold spell with a much needed three-ball. Buckets from Ikenna Smart and Davonta Jordan followed. Kent’s chances at defending their MAC crown were all but over.
Harris finished the day with a team-best 22 points and seven rebound. If the Bulls win the championship on Saturday it will be hard to give Tournament MVP to anyone else. Massinburg, Perkins, and Caruthers were the other Bulls in double figures with 14, 12, and 11 points respectively.
Tomorrow, both Bulls teams will be playing on Championship Saturday for the second time in three years. The Women’s game will tip at 11:00 AM on CBSSN and the men’s at 7:00 p.m. on ESPNU against a soon-to-be-determined opponent.
Enjoy this Bulls fans....this is absolutely crazy.