BOWLING GREEN, OH – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team was outscored 53-41 in the second half on Friday night as the Bulls lost to Bowling Green, 92-88, in front of 5,000 people, the largest crowd in the history of the Stroh Center. The Bulls fall to 19-3 on the season and 7-2 in league play, while Bowling Green moves into first place in the conference with a 7-1 record.
For the first time this season, the Bulls lost a game when leading at the half as UB had a 47-39 advantage at the break on the road, but Bowling Green scored 53 points in the second half, going 15-of-27 from the floor (55.6%), while hitting 5-of-9 three pointers.
The Bulls dominated the opening 20 minutes offensively, shooting 53.1%, hitting seven three pointers. UB took its first double digit lead nine minutes into the game as a three pointer from senior Dontay Caruthers opened up a 24-14 lead. A three from sophomore Jayvon Graves gave UB its largest lead of the first half at 40-28, but the Bulls were never able to extend the advantage. The Bulls would lead by 12 two more times, but BG had an answer each time, pulling within eight before the break.
Bowling Green opened the second half on a 7-0 run to pull within one. The Bulls would go back ahead by five, but another 7-0 run for the Falcons gave them their first lead of the night at 59-57 with 13:28 left.
Another three pointer from Caruthers tied the game back up at 63-63, but BG answered back with a three from Dylan Frye and they never trailed again. UB was within one with 8:14 left when the Falcons went on a 12-2 run, taking its largest lead of the night at 84-73 with 5:23 left.
UB was able to answer with an 8-0 run as the Bulls pulled back within three on a three-pointer from senior CJ Massinburg with 2:44 left, but Buffalo never got any closer than two. Massinburg had a chance to tie the game up with 12 seconds left, but his three-point opportunity hit the back iron.
"We weren't good enough defensively tonight and we turned the ball over too many times to beat a really good team on the road," said head coach Nate Oats. "We need to regroup and get back to playing our style of basketball."
Caruthers finished the night with a career high 28 points, his second straight 20-point performance. Caruthers was 8-of-9 from the floor, including 3-of-3 from behind the arc. The senior was also 9-of-11 from the free throw line, while adding seven rebounds.
Massinburg added 26 points, scoring 19 of those in the second half. He was 10-of-15 from the floor and 4-of-6 from three point range.
Senior Nick Perkins added 10 points and six rebounds. Fellow senior Montell McRae led the Bulls in rebounding with nine, all coming in the first half. He added eight points, including draining a pair of early threes.
Buffalo had success on the glass against Bowling Green, who entered the game as the nation's leading rebounding team. UB had a 42-30 advantage on the board, including 12 offensive rebounds.
The Bulls turned it over a season high 18 times in the game, which the Falcons were able to turn into 27 points.
The Bulls will now have a bye this week and won't return to the floor until next Saturday, Feb.9 when they host Central Michigan at 3:30 pm. It will be the second game of a doubleheader with the UB women's team.