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Student energy boost propels UB over Kent

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 late 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. 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.

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 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.