AKRON, OH - The conference-leading Akron Zips used a 16-6 run over the final 6:45 on Tuesday night as they defeated the University at Buffalo men's basketball team, 80-70. Freshman CJ Massinburg finished with a game-high 21 points in the defeat as the Bulls fell to 14-12 and 7-6 in MAC play.
Akron led 15-9 early in the contest, but the Bulls got the best of the hosts for much of the opening 20 minutes. Trailing 20-19, UB went on a 17-3 run which gave Buffalo a 36-23 lead, its largest of the game. Massinburg had six points during the run, including a fast break layup to cap it off. However, over the final four minutes of the half Akron was able to cut into the lead and trailed by just three at the break.
A technical foul called on the UB bench at the end of the first half gave the Zips two free throws to begin the second and they pulled within one before the clock even started running. Akron opened up an 11-point advantage over the first five and a half minutes of the second half, but the Bulls fought their way back.
A 14-5 run by the Bulls over the next four minutes got them back within a single possession following an old fashioned three-point play from senior Rodell Wigginton. The Bulls tied the game up with 8:20 left on a layup from freshman Nick Perkins, which made the score 64-64 and neither team was able to pull ahead for the next minute and a half.
The Bulls were then called for a personal foul and a technical foul with 6:45 remaining, which ignited a 9-0 run for Akron and the Bulls never got any closer than six.
"I thought we played hard and gave good effort tonight we just made some mental errors which cost us," said head coach Nate Oats. "We let them get hot from three and we lost our cool at times and you can't do that against a good team, especially on their home floor."
Massinburg led all scorers with 21 points as he went 7-of-12 from the floor and 7-of-9 from the free throw line. He also tied for a team-high with seven rebounds and added a pair of assists and four steals. Junior David Kadiri also scored in double figures as he had 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
Junior Willie Conner added nine points, while senior Jarryn Skeete finished with eight points and seven boards. Wigginton had seven points and four rebounds, while Blake Hamilton added six points and a team-high eight boards. He also finished with three assists, two blocks and two steals.
The Bulls held a huge advantage on the boards, 40-29 and outshot Akron from the floor, but the Zips shot 40.6% from three point range, including 9-of-16 in the second half. The Bulls also turned it over 17 times, opposed to just 10 turnovers for the Zips.
Buffalo will return home on Saturday looking to snap its three-game losing skid. The Bulls will host Bowling Green at Noon in the first half of a doubleheader with the Buffalo women's basketball team.