Scott McMillin's holiday homecoming was a happier one thanks to his best performance of the season.
The senior guard scored a career-high 19 points, including 11 straight during the game's decisive run, to carry the University at Buffalo to an 80-61 victory over Texas Southern in the first round of the Wichita State Cessna Classic Sunday night.
Mike Martinho added 21 points and Rasaun Young had 20 for the Bulls (7-4), who will play Wichita State for the championship tonight (9:35, Radio 1520).
"There were at least 50 people in the stands who looked like Scott," coach Tim Cohane joked. "I'm happy for Scott and for our team. It's going to be a great experience for us to play Wichita State in the final because it's a great atmosphere with the noise and the band."
Texas Southern stayed close for most of the night behind the shooting of guard Randy Bolden, who led all scorers with 33 points. But after a jumper by Derrick Malone helped the Tigers cut the Bulls' lead to 59-56, McMillin took over.
He made five free throws, hit a three-pointer and converted a three-point play to give UB a 70-58 lead with 2:20 remaining.
"I had a lot of family here, but that wasn't necessarily the motivation for the way I played," he said. "I just shot the ball well, and as a team we were more determined on defense in the second half."