The University at Buffalo simply refused to let go of its winning streak Friday night.
The Bulls put the defensive clamps on Delaware State in the final nine minutes, closing the game with an 18-2 run to pull off an improbable 56-51 victory.
UB took charge with a 13-0 burst that turned a 49-38 deficit into a 51-49 lead. After Delaware State briefly tied the game, UB went ahead for keeps on Yassin Idbihi's layup with 1:57 to go. Two free throws by Calvin Cage and one by Idbihi sealed the verdict.
"We kept playing harder as the game went on, that's something you have to do," said UB coach Reggie Witherspoon. "You have to believe you're going to come back. We weren't necessarily playing well but we played harder and that gave us a chance."
UB improved to 10-1, continuing its best start since the 1962-63 season with its eighth straight win.
Delaware State (2-10) was an NCAA Tournament team last season and this was its home opener after a brutal schedule that's included losses at UCLA, Maryland and Michigan.
Roderick Middleton led UB with 15 points and Cage had 14. The Bulls hit 16 of 26 from the field in the second half while outscoring the hosts, 37-18.
The Hornets' swarming defense buzzed UB early, producing an 11-2 lead in the first 4 1/2 minutes and a 33-19 advantage at the break. Delaware State scored the first three points of the second half to take its biggest lead at 36-19.
"They can make you look bad," Witherspoon said. "They've made a couple ranked teams look bad."
The Bulls open Mid-American Conference play Wednesday night in Alumni Arena against Eastern Michigan.