ATHENS, OH - For the second straight season the University at Buffalo men's basketball claimed the Mid-American Conference Regular Season title as the Bulls defeated Ohio 82-79 on Tuesday night at the Convocation Center. The victory was the eighth straight for Buffalo, who tied a school record for wins in a season set last year at 27. Overall, UB is 27-3 on the year and 15-2 in MAC play, also tying a program record for conference victories.
The Bulls rode a hot shooting performance in the opening half as UB hit 11 three pointers during the first 20 minutes of play, highlighted by four from junior Davonta Jordan, who tied a career high. UB was never quite able to run away though as Buffalo was hampered by 11 first-half turnovers. A three from sophomore Jayvon Graves gave UB the 39-29 advantage and Buffalo went on to take a 41-35 lead into the break.
Ohio opened the second half on a small run, pulling within two at 47-45. UB answered with back-to-back threes from freshman Ronaldo Segu and senior Montell McRae as UB regained a 53-45 lead. The Bulls opened up a 12 point advantage on a jumper from senior Jeremy Harris, but Ohio would go on a 13-2 run to pull within one with 5:32 left.
Buffalo led by just two when senior CJ Massinburg drained a triple to go back ahead 70-65. Ohio cut it back to three when Harris drilled a three to put the Bulls ahead 73-67 with 2:30 left. The Bobcats managed to cut it to three twice late in the game, but Massinburg hit some late free throws to seal it for the Bulls.
"Give Ohio a lot of credit, they came ready to play tonight and gave us all we could handle," said head coach Nate Oats. "I was happy with the way we shot the ball in the first half, but I wasn't particularly pleased with our defensive effort, which we need to improve on before Friday. With that being said, I am extremely proud of this group for everything they have accomplished so far this year. Winning the regular season was just one of our goals for this season and I am happy for the guys in our locker room."
Harris led five Buffalo players in double figures with 20 points as he added six rebounds and four assists. Senior Nick Perkins added 17 points and eight rebounds, while Massinburg added 17 points, seven rebounds, and six assists.
Jordan finished the night with 12 points, while Graves added 10 points and four boards. McRae had three points and five boards, while Segu added three points and a pair of rebounds in just over 13 minutes of action.
The Bulls held a 38-35 advantage on the glass and a 13-5 advantage on the fast break.
Buffalo will conclude the regular season on Friday night when it goes for a school record 28th win as the Bulls host Bowling Green. The game will tip at 6pm and air on ESPNU.
It will be a special night as Buffalo will honor hall of famer Rasaun Young at the half and then after the game, UB will honor its five-member senior class.