Buffalo takes down Akron

Bulls win narrowly on the road

picture00609

Behind chants of “Buffalo is in Canada” from the Akron student section, the Bulls proved again why they are the best team in the Mid-American Conference.

Buffalo (21-3, 9-2 MAC) defeated Akron (14-10, 6-5 MAC) 76-70 on Tuesday night for their second-straight win at Rhodes Arena and handed the Zips just their second home loss of the season. The Bulls had their best performance of the season from the free-throw line while out-rebounding Akron for their ninth road win of the year.

Buffalo started quick with an 8-2 lead and forced Akron to call timeout just two-and-a-half minutes into the game. Four Bulls sunk threes in the first eight minutes to give Buffalo the advantage.

Akron went on a 9-0 run to regain the lead and led until Buffalo hit back-to-back baskets to regain the lead 30-28 and hold the same score until halftime.

The Bulls started the second half as quick as the first and went on a 10-4 run to put them ahead 40-32. Buffalo remained on a roll as junior guard Davonta Jordan hit a three from the corner to make it an 11-point lead and a jump shot from senior forward Jeremy Harris gave the Bulls their largest lead of the night, 51-39.

But Akron would not go down easy. The Zips pulled back into the game with just over three minutes remaining as nearly all of UB’s lead was gone. The Bulls led by four until senior guard CJ Massinburg hit two free throws to make it a 10-point game again with two minutes to go.

Akron came back again making it a three-point game with 17 seconds left. Massinburg and senior guard Dontay Caruthers combined to finish the Zips off and win 76-70.

“We turned the ball over too many times again, but that was one of the best defenses that we have faced all year, so we knew it was going to be tough to score," said head coach Nate Oats. "I am not happy with the way we closed that game out, but with that being said, to go on the road and win in this league isn't easy so we will take it and get better for Friday."

Massinburg finished with 21 points and four rebounds while going 11-12 from the free-throw line.

Caruthers contributed an additional 15 points with four rebounds and senior forward Nick Perkins had eight points to go along with nine rebounds himself.

The Bulls finished 21-26 from the foul line and out-rebounded Akron 38-29. Buffalo will play at Toledo on Friday at 7 p.m.

Nathaniel Mendelson is the senior sports editor and can be reached at nathaniel.mendelson@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @NateMendelson