TOLEDO, OH – The University at Buffalo, The State University of New York men's basketball team opened the evening shooting 8-of-12 from three point range on Saturday, leading the Toledo Rockets wire-to-wire in a 73-68 win at Savage Arena. The win, which improved the Bulls to 12-9 on the season and 5-3 in the MAC, was just their third ever at Toledo.
The Bulls got off to a quick start offensively as their first four field goals all came from three-point range, including three of those from junior Blake Hamilton. Another triple from freshman CJ Massinburg extended the UB lead to 25-16 with 10:15 left in the first half and a layup from senior Rodell Wigginton gave the Bulls their largest advantage of the first half at 36-24 with 4:05 left. UB went into the break with a 38-28 lead.
UB took its largest lead of the game seven and a half minutes into the second half when redshirt freshman Ikenna Smart hit a jumper in the paint, which gave the Bulls a 53-39 lead. The Rockets would not go away though and they made it a game late as they pulled all the way within two points with 1:36 left following a pair of free throws. However, the Bulls got a huge offensive board and put back from Hamilton, which ignited a quick 6-0 run, including a pair of free throws from Massinburg and sophomore Lamonte Bearden. That run sealed the game for the Bulls.
"We came out with a lot of energy and guarded well," said head coach Nate Oats. "We got off to a much better start than we did the last time we were on the road and I thought Blake really got us going early in the game. They missed some shots, which helped, but I thought our guys really came ready to play tonight."
Hamilton led the Bulls with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-5 from behind the arc. Bearden added 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals, while Massinburg finished with 13 points, three assists and a career-high four steals.
Wigginton added 10 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench, while junior Willie Conner had seven points and four boards.
The Bulls held Toledo's leading scorer Nathan Boothe to a 5-of-13 performance from the field, while also forcing him into three turnovers. In all, Toledo turned it over 19 times as the UB defense recorded 11 pilfers.
The difference in the game turned out to be behind the arc where the Bulls hit three more long balls then their opponent.
UB will remain on the road Tuesday night when it faces Northern Illinois. Tip off is set for 8:00 local time in DeKalb and 9:00 pm EST. The game will air on American Sports Network, and locally on MyTV Buffalo. That game will complete a stretch of six of the first nine MAC contests on the road for the Bulls.