BUFFALO, NY – Behind 52 combined points from seniors CJ Massinburg and Nick Perkins, the #16 University at Buffalo men's basketball team won their 20th straight game at Alumni Arena with a 77-65 victory over Eastern Michigan. With the win, UB improves to 17-1 on the season and 5-0 in league play.
The Bulls led wire to wire on Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 6,193 people, the eighth largest in school history in the current arena configuration.
Buffalo scored the first seven points of the game as UB kept Eastern Michigan, the preseason favorites in the MAC West, scoreless for the first five minutes of action. The Bulls opened a quick 15-4 lead as Perkins converted on an old fashioned three-point play to give UB the 11-point advantage with 13:39 left.
The Eagles would climb back into it though as they pulled within one with 9:49 left in the opening half before Massinburg answered with a three, one of six he had on the night. The Eagles remained within four with 7:02 left when UB went on a 12-4 run to end the half, taking a 41-29 lead into the break.
Eastern Michigan cut the Buffalo lead to four at 45-41 just three minutes into the second half when the Bulls answered with nine straight, including back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore Jayvon Graves to give UB a 54-41 edge.
EMU came back again and pulled within a single possession following a three from James Thompson IV with 8:43 left, but then UB put the game out of reach by going on a 17-1 run over the next four minutes. Massinburg had 12 of the 17 points during the run, which was capped off on an athletic three-point play from senior Dontay Caruthers, giving UB its largest lead of the night at 75-57 with 4:20 left. The Eagles never got any closer than 12 from there.
"It was a much better start tonight than we had the last two games and then we kind of let them back in the game," said head coach Nate Oats. "I was really happy with the effort overall. We outrebounded them by 10 and we defended them well in the half court. If you take away our turnovers, we played a really good game, but we had way too many turnovers and we have to get that problem fixed."
Massinburg finished the night with 31 points to lead all scorers as he went 10-of-16 from the floor and 6-of-12 from three point range. He also added five boards and a pair of assists.
Perkins added 21 points and six rebounds as he went 8-of-12 from the floor and 5-of-7 from the free throw line. Perkins went over 1,500 points in his UB career in the win.
Graves added 10 points, five rebounds and three assists, while junior Davonta Jordan led all players with eight assists, while also having five rebounds and three steals. In all, five players had five or more rebounds in the game.
Senior Montell McRae had seven points and four boards, while senior Jeremy Harris finished the night with five points, six rebounds, and four assists. Caruthers also had four assists, to go along with a steal and a pair of rebounds.
With the win, the Bulls have swept the season series from Eastern Michigan, while extending their win streak at Alumni Arena to 20, the third longest in the nation. UB's 17-1 record is its best in school history through 18 games and the best start to a season by a MAC team since Western Michigan opened the 1975-76 season 19-0.
The Bulls hit the road for their next two games beginning on Tuesday night at Northern Illinois. Tipoff is set for 8:00 pm ET and it can be seen on ESPN+.