BUFFALO, NY – A 12-0 run midway through the second half led the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York men's basketball team to an 80-73 win over Montana State, Saturday afternoon at Alumni Arena. Today's contest was originally supposed to be played last season, but was postponed due to weather. The win was UB's second straight and improved the Bulls to 6-5 on the year.
The game was a back and forth affair that saw 10 ties and 18 lead changes, most of those coming in the first half where neither team led by more than five. A three pointer from junior Blake Hamilton gave the Bulls their largest lead of the opening half at 21-16, but a 14-5 run from Montana State put the Bobcats up 30-26, which turned out to be their largest lead of the game. A pair of free throws from Danny Robinson gave the Bobcats a 41-40 lead into the break.
The UB defense was much better in the second half as Montana State shot just 27.8% from the floor and 28.6% from three-point range over the final 20 minutes. The Bobcats held another four point lead early in the second half and continued to lead 51-50 with 12:57 left when the Bulls rattled off 12 straight points over the next four and a half minutes. UB received a boost off the bench from junior David Kadiri, who had six of his eight points during the run.
The Bulls continued to lead by double figures at 67-57 with 5:53 left when Montana State made a late run to pull within five with 1:26 left. The Bobcats again pulled within five with 46 seconds left, but UB hit its foul shots late. UB went 13-of-16 from the free throw line in the second half, including 10 for their last 12 from the charity stripe.
"I thought we did a fairly decent job of defending the three, holding them to 35% when they came into the game shooting nearly 40% for the year," said head coach Nate Oats. "The first half defense was not that good, but in the second half, that group that was in there with Kadiri at the five, really got us going. I don't think we closed the game great, but our defense was good enough in the second half to get us the win."
Sophomore Lamonte Bearden led the Bulls with 18 points, one of four players in double figures. Bearden added seven rebounds and four assists, while not recording a turnover in 32 minutes of action. Hamilton, who picked up the start today, finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, while Rodell Wigginton added 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
Freshman CJ Massinburg finished with 10 points, three assists and three steals. Kadiri had a career-high eight points, adding five rebounds, three blocks and a steal in 18 minutes.
Montana State was led by 18 points and 11 rebounds from Tyler Hall and 17 points from Marcus Colbert.
The Bulls will head back on the road Tuesday night when they face VCU at 7:00 pm. The game will air on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.