Bulls Turn Up Defensive Intensity In 84-72 Victory Over Kent State

Jeremy Harris

BUFFALO, NY – Having allowed 80 or more points in four straight games, the University at Buffalo men's basketball team turned up the defensive pressure on Tuesday night, allowing the Kent State Golden Flashes to shoot just 39.4% from the floor in an 84-72 win at Alumni Arena.  The victory snapped a three-game skid against Kent State and improved the Bulls to 19-7 overall and 11-2 in Mid-American Conference play.

The Bulls shot 52.4% for the game, including just under 58% in the opening half.  Defensively, Kent State shot just 39.4% and 32.0% from three-point range.

Kent State held just two leads in the game and never led by more than two points.  With the Golden Flashes leading 10-9 with 14:30 left, UB scored five straight points, capped off on a three from Jeremy Harris, and never looked back.

Leading 29-23, the Bulls scored 12 straight points over a three-minute period late in the first half, propelling them to a 16-1 run, giving UB its largest lead of the evening at 45-24 with 31 seconds left.  The Bulls got a pair of threes from Dontay Caruthers and Jayvon Graves during the run as the final four points were scored by junior Nick Perkins.  The Golden Flashes hit a late three as UB took a 45-27 lead into the break.

Buffalo built its lead back up to 21 in the second half on a no-look pass from Harris to Caruthers for the easy layup with 16:22 left, but Kent State answered by scoring eight straight to pull within 13.  While the Golden Flashes kept making a run at the Bulls, UB never got their lead under double figures.

A three-point play from Harris with 9:13 left built the lead back up to 18 at 68-50.  The Golden Flashes went on a 13-5 run to pull within 73-63 with 4:42 left, but senior Wes Clark immediately answered with a layup.

Kent State pulled within 10 three more times over the final three and a half minutes, but junior CJ Massinburg hit his four free throw attempts late, while Harris hit a pair as well.

Harris finished with a career-high 24 points as he went 9-of-15 from the floor.  He added six rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Clark had 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, while finishing with four rebounds, and three assists. Perkins had his third double-double of the season with 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Massinburg stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, nine rebounds, and a career-high seven assists, while turning it over just once.  He also had a block and two steals.

Graves and Caruthers each had five points, while Graves added three blocked shots.  Sophomore Davonta Jordan finished with four points, five rebounds, three assists, and a steal.

Massinburg allowed Kent State's leading scorer Jaylin Walker to just a 4-of-17 performance from the floor.  The Golden Flashes were led by 17 points from Kevin Zabo as four players scored in double figures.

The Bulls held a 44-32 advantage on the glass and a 13-3 lead in fast-break points.

Buffalo will remain home on Friday night when it hosts Bowling Green at 7pm for a nationally televised game on ESPNU.  The Bulls are looking to lock up the MAC East and a bye to Cleveland with a win against the Falcons.