Kent, Ohio — CJ Massinburg and Nick Perkins scored 20 apiece as No. 14 Buffalo pulled away in the final minutes and avoided dropping its second Mid-American Conference game in four days with an 88-79 win over Kent State on Friday night.
The Bulls (18-2, 6-1 MAC) showed experience and poise down the stretch to hold off the upset-minded Golden Flashes (15-5, 4-3), who hosted their first ranked opponent since 1989.
Clinging to a 78-75 lead, Buffalo, which was beaten at Northern Illinois on Tuesday, forced Kent State into three straight turnovers and converted each time to open some breathing room.
Jaylin Walker scored 21 and Philip Whittington had 18 points and 13 rebounds to pace the Golden Flashes.
Kent State led for most of the night and was up 61-56 midway through the second half when Massinburg, Buffalo’s steady senior guard, buried two straight 3-pointers to ignite a 10-0 run by the Bulls. But with the game still in doubt, Buffalo turned to its defense to put the clamps on the Golden Flashes, who made just two field goals in the final 4:17.
Backed by a raucous crowd, Kent State got the start it needed, jumping to a 25-12 lead when Walker, who has a knack for making improbable shots, dropped an off-balance 3 just before the 30-second shot clock expired.
(At) Wright State 69, Oakland 58: LaKyesha Stennis had 16 points, Taylor Jones added 10 and Chloe Guingrich had 10 rebounds for the Golden Grizzlies (4-15, 1-7 Horizon). Mackenzie Taylor had 19 points and Symone Simmons 16 rebounds for Wright State (15-5, 7-1).
(At) Northern Kentucky 68, Detroit Mercy 56: Brittney Jackson had 20 points and Zoey Oatis added 12 points for the Titans (3-16, 1-7). Northern Kentucky (4-14, 3-5) was led by Taylor Clos’ 19 points, while Kalley Coffey had 16 rebounds.