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Bulls romp over Kent State

Maybe the University at Buffalo should play all its games at 10 p.m.

The Bulls treated a raucous crowd of 5,797 at Alumni Arena to an 80-55 victory over Kent State on Friday night.

Kent State, leading the East Division of the Mid-American Conference, walked into a buzz saw.

The Bulls fed off the energy of one of the best student crowds in UB history and needed only 15 minutes to turn the game into a rout. UB led 45-25 at halftime and 59-30 with 15 minutes left.

There were 2,492 students in the house, virtually all wearing black.

The result improved the Bulls to 14-6 overall and 5-3 in the MAC East. They will be tied for third in the East after Saturday’s games. Kent State, still in first place, fell to 15-6 and 6-2.

Senior forward Xavier Ford led the Bulls with a career-high 25 points. He had four rim-rattling dunks and three three-pointers. Forward Justin Moss had 13 points for UB and guard Shannon Evans had 12.

UB’s defense was sensational, creating repeated fast-break baskets. UB outscored Kent State in points off turnovers, 25-6.

But the game was more about emotion than tactics. The atmosphere was electric for the game televised nationally on ESPNU. Both stands on the ends of the court were filled with students. They waved oversized, cut-out, “head signs” of Rex Ryan, Abe Lincoln, Ron Burgundy, Bobby Hurley, Will Smith, Macaulay Culkin and Woody from the movie Toy Story.

UB improved to 8-0 at home this year and has won 22 of its last 23 games at Alumni Arena. UB is averaging 80.7 ppg at home.

UB outscored the Golden Flashes, 26-10, over the last nine minutes of the first half. Among the highlights: A reverse jam by Ford off a Lamonte Bearden pass, an alley-oop layup by Evans, a fast-break jam by Ford, a spinning scoop shot by Bearden and another Bearden-to-Ford slam dunk play.

UB’s next game is Wednesday at Ball State.