KENT, OH – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team shot 53.2% from the floor on Friday night, their highest total in the last 12 games, outscoring Kent State by 10 in the second half en route to an 88-79 victory at the M.A.C. Center. With the win, UB improves to 18-2 on the year and 6-1 in the league play.
Early on, Kent State was on fire from the floor as the Golden Flashes opened up a 25-12 lead just seven and a half minutes into the game. The MAC's leading scorer Jaylin Walker had 10 of his 21 points during the early run, but then the Bulls tightened up their defense.
Kent State continued to lead 33-24 when the Bulls went on an 11-2 run as a three pointer from Dontay Caruthers tied the contest up for the first time since the beginning of the game. The Golden Flashes would answer with a 7-0 run, but another three from Caruthers and three points from junior Davonta Jordan pulled UB within one, which was the deficit at the break, 44-43.
Buffalo opened the second half on a 6-0 run as a layup from senior CJ Massinburg pulled the Bulls ahead 49-44 just two minutes into the second half. Kent State went back ahead by five at 61-56 with 11:35 left, but then it was all Bulls the rest of the way.
UB went on a 10-0 run over the next two and a half minutes, highlighted by a pair of triples from Massinburg and Buffalo never trailed again despite Kent State tying it up on two more occasions. With the game tied at 73-73 with 5:22 left, senior Nick Perkins drilled a triple, as UB scored five straight. In all, it was an 11-2 run for Buffalo, capped off on a fast break layup by Jeremy Harris, putting UB ahead 84-75. Kent State never pulled any closer than within five over the final two minutes.
"This was a tough hard fought road win in the MAC," said head coach Nate Oats. "Kent State is a hard place to play and they came out ready to go and punched us in the mouth early. They hit some tough shots, but then I thought our guys settled in and made the game a lot more difficult for them."
Massinburg and Perkins each finished with 20 points to lead the way for Buffalo, who got scoring contributions from all nine guys who saw the floor. In addition to his 20 points, Massinburg had eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
Perkins added eight rebounds and three assists as well for UB. Caruthers added 12 points and five assists, while junior Davonta Jordan also finished with 12 points, three rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
Walker, who had scored 30 or more points in each of the last two games, finished with a game-high 21 points, but had just six in the second half as he went 1-of-6 from the floor.
The Bulls were able to cut their turnovers down slightly with 12 on the night, but they added 18 assists and defensively finished with nine steals.
Buffalo shot 53.2% from the floor, its third highest shooting game of the year and its best shooting performance on the road.
The Bulls will return home on Tuesday night when they welcome Ball State to Alumni Arena. With students back in session, it is expected to be another capacity crowd. Tipoff is at 7pm.