PITTSBURGH, PA – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team outscored Pittsburgh, out of the ACC, 42-35 in the second half, but a slow start doomed the Bulls in an 84-79 loss on Wednesday night at the Peterson Events Center. The Bulls are now 4-5 on the season as their six-game road trip comes to an end.
The Panthers hit 15 of their first 20 shots on the evening, opening the game on a 20-4 run. Pitt increased the lead to 47-21 just 15 and a half minutes into the game and the Bulls were forced to fight their way back the rest of the night. The Bulls managed to go on a 16-2 run over the final 4:26 of the first half as they trailed 49-37 at the break. UB benefited from the return of sophomore CJ Massinburg, who made his season debut on Wednesday. Massinburg hit a pair of threes during the run.
Pitt increased its lead to 17 in the second half before a 13-5 run by the Bulls put them back within single figures, 61-52, after a dunk by sophomore Nick Perkins. Buffalo got even closer, 63-58, following a put back tip-in from Quate McKInzie, who also returned tonight after missing the last four games due to injury.
The Panthers regained a 69-61 lead, but Buffalo went on a quick 7-0 run as a layup from Perkins pulled UB within a single point with 6:30 left. Pitt answered by taking a 79-72 lead with just 3:04 left and the Bulls weren't able to pull any closer than three.
"It's tough when you dig yourself a 26-point hole with a team like Pitt to come back and win," said head coach Nate Oats. "We've been struggling with turnovers, but got our turnovers down to eight tonight, so I thought we did a good job with that. It was great to have CJ back and he helps in cutting turnovers down. If we can put 40 minutes together we can beat some really good teams."
After a career-high 24 points on Saturday at St. Bonaventure, Perkins added 23 points and eight rebounds on Wednesday night. Senior Blake Hamilton finished with 18 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Massinburg, playing for the first time this year, had 14 points, five assists and three rebounds off the bench. McKinzie added six points and six boards off the bench as well.
Pitt (7-2) had six players score in double figures, including all five starters. Michael Young and Cameron Johnson each had a team-high 17 points.
The Bulls will now return to Alumni Arena for just the second time this year on Saturday afternoon when the Bulls host Coppin State. Tipoff is set for 2:00 pm.