Despite dealing with an injury to his left ankle, CJ Massinburg wasn’t going to let the No. 21 UB Bulls lose.
The Bulls got out to their best start all season opening the game on a 10-0 run. Massinburg spun and drove into the lane. The layup was good but his ankle was not.
Massinburg was clutching his leg as he was surrounded by athletic trainers. He was able to get up on his own power but quickly went to the locker room.
The Bulls managed to beat Miami (OH) 77-69 but if Massinburg’s injury was more severe the results might not have been the same.
As the senior guard left the game the Bulls’ hot shooting continued and they opened up their largest lead of the night at 18-0. Miami didn’t get its first basket until 15:02 into the second half.
From then on, it was all RedHawks.
Massinburg was back in the game but still shaken up from his fall. Miami outscored UB 31-19 over the final 15 minutes of the first half, nearly erasing all of UB’s initial run.
The Bulls went scoreless from 5:36-0:23 when a Nick Perkins layup finally went in to stop the cold spell. By then, Miami had already scored an additional 14 points.
Buffalo went into halftime up four, the same amount they were up when the teams played the first time on Feb. 12. Except in that match, Buffalo outscored the RedHawks by 20 in the second half. Tonight they only outscored them by four.
With momentum on their side, Miami and the rest of the crowd in Millett Hall went into halftime believing they could upset the first ranked team to play on their court since 2000.
The second half opened and much was the same, Buffalo and Miami traded baskets until the Bulls were able to go on a run to open up a 54-43 lead on two free throws by Massinburg.
Massinburg was fouled hard on a breakaway by Miami’s Nike Sibande. As he sunk both free throws, the senior’s signature smile was back and so was the Bulls’ offense.
Bam Bowman made a layup for Miami before Nick Perkins sank a three, assisted by who else but Massinburg as Buffalo was comfortably up, 57-45.
Buffalo was able to build up to a 65-52 lead before the RedHawks sparked the same fire in the first half. With just under 10 minutes remaining, Miami went on another of its runs and brought itself back within three points.
The RedHawks over the next seven minutes outscored UB 15-5 to cut the lead to 70-67.
Massinburg took it upon himself to give UB back its lead. He drove into the paint only to be blocked by Bowman.
He grabbed his own miss and two quick passes later, Buffalo guard Dontay Caruthers found himself at the rim to give the Bulls a five-point advantage.
A quick layup by Miami would be the last points they would score all night and Perkins’ second made three of the half on the ensuing possession put the RedHawks away.
Massinburg managed to play 33 minutes and lead the game in points with 20 and the Bulls in rebounds with 10.
Perkins and Jayvon Graves both added 13 points and Davonta Jordan had his highest scoring total since Feb. 12 with 12 points of his own.
Miami’s Nike Sibande and Dalonte Brown each had 15 and Bowman had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.
With the win, Buffalo clinched at least a share of the MAC East title with Bowling Green. Those teams will play on the last day of the regular season.
Buffalo now has a new record for wins in a regular season at 26-3. They currently sit one win away from most total wins in a season at 27. That mark was reached last season.
If the Bulls make a run in the MAC and NCAA tournaments, Buffalo can find itself with 30 wins for the first time ever.