Bulls Get Defensive In 87-65 Drubbing Of Akron

Wes Clark at Akron

BUFFALO, NY- The University at Buffalo men's basketball team scored the first 11 points of the game and allowed just three first-half field goals as the Bulls improved to 3-0 in league play with an 87-65 win at Akron on Tuesday night.  The victory marked the first time that Buffalo has won at Akron since 2012 and the first time since 2010 that the Bulls have started MAC play 3-0.

The Bulls had one of their best defensive first-half performances in quite some time as Akron scored just 17 points, including going just 3-of-23 from the floor and 0-of-9 from three.  The Bulls allowed the five Akron starters to score just one point collectively over the opening 20 minutes.

Offensively, UB got off to a quick start opening the night on an 11-0 run.  Buffalo set the tone early, as following a layup from Jeremy Harris, sophomore Davonta Jordan stole the inbounds pass and laid it in.  Leading 16-5, the Bulls scored five straight points, capped off on a block from junior Montell McRae, who then ran the floor and took a bullet pass from Harris and laid it in and got fouled, completing the three-point play.  The Bulls led by as many as 21 in the opening half, as a layup from Wes Clark was good right before the half, giving the Bulls a 38-17 lead into the break.

Back-to-back threes from Clark and Harris opened the Buffalo lead to 49-20 with 16:54 left in the second half. It was an even half as the two teams traded baskets for much of the final 20 minutes.  The Zips never got any closer than 21.

"I thought our defensive effort for the second straight game was terrific and if we were able to hit some shots we really could have put that thing away," said head coach Nate Oats.  "It started early with Davonta's energy and our entire team fed off of that energy all night."

The Bulls had five players in double figures led by 17 points each from Harris and junior Nick Perkins.   Harris went 7-of-10 from the floor and added four rebounds, two assists, a block, and three steals.

Perkins also had 17 points as he went 5-of-9 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the free throw line.

Graves and fellow Ohio native Montell McRae each finished with 11 points.  McRae had five rebounds, including four on the offensive end, while Graves hit a pair of threes in his homecoming to Akron, OH.

Junior CJ Massinburg had his sixth double-double on the season with 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.  Clark added nine points, five assists, and four rebounds.

Jordan had eight points and four assists, while Ikenna Smart and Dominic Johnson each finished with two points.

Buffalo held a 40-34 advantage on the boards tonight and held a huge 44-14 advantage in points scored in the paint.  The Bulls also held leads in second chance points, points of turnover, and fast break points.

This marked the first time since joining the league that UB has won back-to-back road games by 20 or more points.

The Bulls return home on Saturday afternoon looking for their first ever 4-0 start to Mid-American Conference play.  UB will host Miami (OH) at Alumni Arena with tipoff scheduled for 2:00pm.