No. 25 Buffalo wasn’t efficient on Tuesday, but the Bulls achieved the desired objective of earning a road win over an improved opponent.
Senior guard CJ Massinburg had 21 points to lead Buffalo to a 76-70 win at Akron, which entered the game having won four of its past five games.
Leading 30-28 at halftime, Buffalo (21-3, 9-2 Mid-American Conference) took control early in the second half.
The Bulls produced a 10-4 run to take a 40-32 lead with 16:43 left in the game, and then the Bulls increased their edge to 51-39 with 10:13 remaining.
Akron (14-10, 6-5) did manage to make a run, shaving Buffalo’s lead down to 62-58 with 3:25 to go in the game on a 3-pointer from Jimond Ivey.
But Buffalo had an answer, scoring the next six points to take a 68-58 lead with 2:02 remaining.
Seemingly out of it, Akron managed to close within a basket at 73-70 on a Daniel Utomi 3-pointer with 18 seconds left, but a free throw by Massinburg and a layup by senior guard Dontay Caruthers helped the Bulls hold off Akron.
Massinburg only took seven shots from the floor but went 11 of 12 from the free-throw line.
Caruthers added 15 points in the win for Buffalo, which outrebounded Akron 38-29.
Sophomore guard Loren Cristian Jackson scored a game-high 20 points and junior guard Tyler Cheese added 16 points and six steals for Akron, which forced 17 turnovers from Buffalo.
However, Akron was only 4 of 7 from the free-throw line.
Buffalo took a 21-13 lead in the first nine minutes of the game, but Akron made a rally from there, going on a 9-0 run to take a 22-21 edge with 8:18 left in the first half.
Akron then went up 28-25 with 4:29 remaining in the half, but Buffalo held Akron scoreless the rest of the half and took a 30-28 lead into the locker room.
—Field Level Media