UB overcomes 18-point deficit to defeat Central Michigan

Courtesy of UBBulls.com

BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team overcame an 18-point first half deficit on Saturday afternoon as the Bulls defeated Central Michigan 90-76 for their 22nd straight win at Alumni Arena.  The Bulls played in front of 6,437 fans, their fourth highest attendance.  With the win, the Bulls improve to 20-3 on the year and 8-2 in MAC play.  It is just the eighth time in school history Buffalo has hit the 20-win mark and the fourth time in the last five years.

Central Michigan came out strong as a three-pointer from Dallas Morgan gave the Chippewas a 32-14 lead just 12 minutes into the contest.  However, a Jeremy Harris three-pointer ignited a 24-6 run as the Bulls erased the deficit within a six-minute period as they got a three from senior Montell McRae to tie it up at 38-38 with 2:08 left.  CMU would score the final five points of the second half to take a 43-28 lead into the break.

Buffalo outscored Central Michigan 52-33 in the second half as CMU shot just 28.6 percent in the final 20 minutes.  The Chippewas led 49-42 with 17:40 left when the Bulls went on a 16-0 run and never looked back.  Five different Bulls scored during the run, including five points from senior CJ Massinburg.

The Chippewas would cut it back to three at 58-55 with 10:19 left when UB went on an 11-1 run as a dunk from senior Nick Perkins extended the advantage to 69-56 with 7:11 left.  CMU had one last run in them as they would pull back within three with 2:01 left, but the Bulls ended the game on a 13-2 run to take the 14-point win.

“I thought we were really good today after those first 12 minutes,” said head coach Nate Oats.  “After that initial charge by them we got back to playing that Blue Collar brand of basketball that has won us a lot of games this year.”

Harris led four players in double figures with 19 points, while adding eight rebounds, and six assists. Massinburg added 18 points, all coming in the second half as he was 6-of-11 from the floor and 4-of-7 from behind the arc.

Fellow senior Dontay Caruthers added 16 points and four steals, while Perkins finished the night with 10 points and six rebounds.

Junior Davonta Jordan had seven points and a game-high eight assists, while sophomore Jayvon Graves finished the game with nine points and five boards, four of those coming on the offensive end.

McRae chipped in seven points and freshman Jeenathan Williams had four points.

The Bulls forced Central Michigan into 23 turnovers on Saturday, which UB turned into 30 points.  Offensively, UB shot 54.8% for the game, including just under 57 percent in the second half.

Buffalo held Central Michigan’s leading scorer Larry Austin Jr. to just eight points, while Austin and Shawn Roundtree combined for 15 of the 23 turnovers.

UB will return to the road on Tuesday night when it begins a two-game road trip at Akron.  Buffalo will play road games at Akron and Toledo this upcoming week before opening a three-game home stand on Feb. 19.

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