Massinburg leads No. 21 Buffalo to 77-64 win over Akron
AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) — CJ Massinburg had 23 points and 10 rebounds to rally No. 21 Buffalo over Akron 77-64 on Tuesday night for its 25th straight home win.
Nick Perkins scored 25 points, and the Bulls (25-3, 13-2 Mid-American Conference) outscored the Zips 14-2 over the final four minutes in a game that featured 12 lead changes. Buffalo has won six straight overall, and its home winning streak is the second longest in the nation behind No. 8 Houston, which has won 33 consecutive.
The Bulls haven’t lost at home since a 73-62 defeat to St. Bonaventure on Dec. 2, 2017. They’ve won 17 straight MAC games at home since an 89-83 loss to Akron on Feb. 24, 2017.
Tyler Cheese scored 20 points for Akron (15-13, 7-8), which dropped to 2-5 in its past six games.
The game was a rematch of a nail-biter in which the Bulls won at Akron 76-70 two weeks ago.
Buffalo never led by more than three points through the first 35 minutes but didn’t relinquish the lead after going up 61-59 with 7:02 left when Perkins completed a three-point play. Two minutes later, the crowd erupted when Jayvon Graves blocked Jimond Ivey’s layup at one end and ran the court to catch Massinburg’s long pass and cap the transition break with a dunk.
After Loren Cristian Jackson hit a 3-pointer to cut Buffalo’s lead to 63-62, the Bulls took control by wearing down the Zips.
Davonte Jordan sparked the final run by driving the paint and laying the ball in with a finger roll. Massinburg capped the roll in the final minute by hitting four free throws.
The Bulls trailed by seven during the first half.
The teams traded leads nine times in the first half, including seven times over the final 5:26, with Cheese’s 3-pointer with 3 seconds left putting Akron ahead 36-35 at the break. It marked just the eighth time this season Buffalo has trailed entering the second half.
Buffalo was issued two technical fouls. Perkins picked up the first for pushing Deng Riak after the whistle while both were fighting for a loose ball in the first half. Buffalo picked up another with 13:20 left in the game when the Bulls were called for having six players on the court.
Akron: The Zips fell to 0-32 against ranked opponents, but gave the Bulls a scare.
Buffalo: The Bulls showed patience and resolve in outlasting the Zips, who ranked 15th in the nation in allowing just 62.6 points a game.
Akron: Host Ohio on Saturday.
Buffalo: At Miami (Ohio) on Friday.
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