ST. BONAVENTURE, NY - The University at Buffalo men's basketball team nearly overcame a late 11-point deficit on Saturday afternoon, but the Bulls ultimately fell at Big 4 rival St. Bonaventure, 90-84. The Bulls were paced by sophomore Nick Perkins, who scored a career-high 24 points.
The Bonnies opened the contest on an 11-4 run before a 13-5 run from the Bulls gave UB its only lead of the night as a Raheem Johnson layup put Buffalo ahead, 17-16 with 9:30 remaining in the first half. However, St. Bonaventure then went on a 20-6 run, taking its largest lead of the half at 36-23. The Bonnies would take a 13-point lead into the break.
The Bonnies led by as many as 15 points early in the second half, but then the Bulls would do all they could and more to try and claw back into it. Perkins scored 17 of his 24 points after the intermission and a three pointer from the sophomore pulled UB back within five at 58-53 with 11:37 left.
St. Bonaventure regained its double figure lead late in the second half as a three pointer from Jaylen Adams put the Bonnies ahead 83-72 with just 2:16 left. A three pointer from Perkins followed by a steal and a three from freshman Davonta Jordan had UB back within five quickly, 83-78. The Bulls got as close as two following a three from senior Blake Hamilton, 86-84 with just 25 seconds left, but the Bonnies hit their final four free throws to hold on to the win.
Perkins had a career-best 24 points, going 10-of-15 from the field and 4-of-6 from three-point range. It was a solid come back night for Perkins, who was held scoreless on Tuesday night at Creighton. Hamilton added 20 points as he also drained four three-pointers, while adding four rebounds and four assists. It was the third straight game that Hamilton has scored at least 20 points in and the fourth in the last five games.
Willie Conner finished with 13 points, while Johnson had 12 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench. Johnson was a perfect 6-of-6 from the field.
Jordan had a career-best nine points, while adding a team-high seven assists and six rebounds, one of three UB players with six boards. Redshirt sophomore Dontay Caruthers had four points, five rebounds, five assists, a block and three steals.
St. Bonaventure (5-2) was led by 29 points from Adams, who also added eight assists and four steals. The Bulls did do a nice job on St. Bonaventure's leading scorer Matt Mobley, who had just nine points, the first time this year he failed to score in double figures.
The Bulls will close out their six-game road trip on Wednesday night with a trip to the Steel City. UB will face ACC foe Pittsburgh for a 7:00 pm tip off. As part of ACC Network Plus, the game will air on ESPN3.