Caruthers scores 15 off the bench in UB win at Akron

Dontay Caruthers scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor and 3-of-4 from the free throw line. (Photo: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

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AKRON, OH – The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team handed Akron just its second home loss of the season on Tuesday night as the Bulls defeated the Zips, 76-70, their second straight win at Rhodes Arena.  With the win, Buffalo improves to 21-3 on the season and 9-2 in league play.

The Bulls used a strong performance from the free throw line as the Bulls went 21-of-26 from the charity stripe, contributing in their six-point road win, the ninth true road victory for UB this year.  Buffalo also held a 38-29 lead on the boards.

Buffalo jumped out to an early 8-2 lead as Akron called timeout just two and a half minutes into the game. In all, four UB players hit three pointers over the first eight minutes as the Bulls led, 17-10. UB continued to lead 21-13 when Akron went on a 9-0 run to regain the lead.  The Zips led 28-25 with 4:33 left, but the Buffalo defense held the Zips scoreless for the remainder of the half as a three-pointer from senior CJ Massinburg and a layup from fellow senior Nick Perkins gave UB the 30-28 lead into the break.

Buffalo went on a quick 10-2 run to open the second half, capped off on a three-point play from senior Nick Perkins, putting the Bulls ahead 40-32. A corner triple from junior Davonta Jordan extended the Buffalo lead to 47-36 and the Bulls took their largest lead of the game at 51-39 on a jumper from Jeremy Harris with 10:09 left.

Akron would pull back within four at 62-58 with 3:23 remaining, but the Bulls managed to regain a double figure lead as a pair of free throws from Massinburg extended the advantage to 68-58 with just two minutes left.

The Bulls were unable to close it out though as Akron cut a nine-point Buffalo lead to just three with 17 seconds left.  Massinburg was fouled with 15 seconds left and hit the first to extend the lead to four.  He then missed the second, his only miss of the night, but senior Dontay Caruthers followed it up with the offensive put back, extending the lead to 76-70, which was the final margin of victory.

“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 led all players with 21 points, scoring 16 of those in the second half.  He did most of his damage from the free throw line, going 11-of-12 from the charity stripe.

Caruthers had 15 points off the bench, while Jordan added 12 points and five rebounds.  Perkins finished with eight points and a game-high nine boards.

Harris had nine points and six rebounds, while freshmen Jeenathan Williams and Ronaldo Segu had three and two points, respectively.

Akron entered the game allowing just 62.0 points per game, the top figure in the MAC. In fact the 76 points scored by Buffalo tonight were the most by a MAC team against Akron since Central Michigan scored 88 in an overtime contest in the second conference game of the season. It was also the highest total by an Akron opponent at Rhodes Arena this year.

The Bulls will remain on the road Friday night when they travel to Toledo for their second meeting with the Rockets this year.  The game will tip at 7:00 pm and air nationally on ESPNU.  UB defeated Toledo earlier this season, 110-80.

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