DEKALB, IL – Northern Illinois' Noah McCarty hit a layup with 0.6 seconds left on Tuesday night breaking a tie game and handing the nationally-ranked University at Buffalo men's basketball team its first MAC loss of the year, 77-75. The Bulls are now 17-2 on the season and 5-1 in league play.
It was a game that was slowed by fouls and turnovers as the two teams were called for a combined 50 fouls in 40 minutes of action. The two teams also turned it over a combined 35 times, including 17 for UB, who has had trouble with turnovers over the last three games.
The Bulls trailed after 20 minutes of play as 27 of the 50 fouls were called in the first half. UB struggled from the floor as well, shooting just 34.6%, while Northern Illinois was able to shoot 48%, taking a 38-32 lead into the break, UB's largest halftime deficit since the season opener at West Virginia.
Northern Illinois extended its lead to 10 in the second half with 15:49 left, but the Bulls used a Nick Perkins three to ignite an 18-4 run, putting UB back up in the game as a pair of free throws from senior Montell McRae put Buffalo ahead, 56-52 with 10:05 left.
Buffalo continued to lead 62-59 when NIU's Eugene German hit a three, which led to a quick 8-0 run, putting the Huskies back ahead. Northern Illinois led by as many as seven with just 86 seconds left, but the Bulls had one last fight in them.
Massinburg hit a three to pull UB within four before Northern Illinois went back up six with 52 seconds left. Massinburg was then fouled on a three pointer and drained all three to make it a one possession game. The Bulls were able to force an NIU turnover with just under 19 seconds left and Massinburg drilled a long three pointer, tying the game up at 75-75 with just over six seconds left.
Following a timeout, the Huskies were able to take the ball down the court and convert on a layup with just 0.6 left on the clock. UB's final pass was intercepted as the clock expired and Buffalo was dealt the road defeat.
"They played harder than we did tonight and they deserved to win the game," said head coach Nate Oats. "We need to get back to the blue collar stuff that got us to this point, like rebounding, and diving for loose balls, and tonight we didn't do that."
Massinburg led the Bulls with 23 points as he was 6-of-14 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. He added seven rebounds and four assists.
Senior Jeremy Harris added 15 points and eight rebounds, while Perkins had 12 points and nine boards. Perkins moved into sixth place on UB's all-time scoring list, surpassing Yassin Idbihi. He now has 1,516 points in his career.
NIU has two players with 20 or more points, led by 23 points from Dante Thorpe and 20 points and 10 boards from German.
Buffalo will continue this stretch of five of seven games on the road Friday night when it travels to Kent State. That game will tipoff at 6:30 pm and it will air on CBS Sports Network.