Nick Perkins scored 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and CJ Massinburg also racked up 20 points as No. 14 Buffalo came from behind to beat Kent State 88-79 on Friday in Kent, Ohio.
The Bulls (18-2, 6-1 in MAC play) led just 78-75 after a layup by Kent State’s Philip Whittington with 4:11 to play but used their defense to create some separation down the stretch.
Buffalo recorded steals on three straight Kent State possessions, leading to dunks by Jeremy Harris and Massinburg and another layup by Harris that expanded the Bulls’ advantage to 84-75 with 2:18 remaining. Whittington and Jalen Avery had baskets to bring the Golden Flashes to within 84-79 with 1:26 left, but Buffalo did enough down the stretch to hold off the upset bit.
Davonta Jordan and Dontay Caruthers added 12 points each for Buffalo, which has won seven of its past eight games.
Kent State’s Jaylin Walker led all scorers with 21 points, while Whittington racked up a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Avery poured in 13 points for the Golden Flashes (15-5, 4-3), who had a three-game win streak snapped.
Kent State led throughout the first half, building a 13-point advantage capped by Walker’s 3-pointer with 12:33 to play in the half. The Bulls cut the lead to one point twice, including with 38 seconds to play on a bucket by Perkins that pulled Buffalo to within 44-43 at halftime.
Walker led all scorers with 15 points over the first 20 minutes, while Perkins paced the Bulls with 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor. Buffalo outshot the Golden Flashes 53.3 percent to 47.2 percent in the half, while Kent State outrebounded the Bulls 21-15 in the nearly even game.
Kent State was up 61-56 after Anthony Roberts layup with 11:35 to play, but the Bulls surged to the front. They used back-to-back 3-pointers and a pair of free throws by Massinburg and a layup from Montrell McRae to forge a 10-0 run and a 66-61 advantage, its first lead of the game.
Buffalo returns home to host Ball State on Tuesday while the Golden Flashes travel to battle Western Michigan, also on Tuesday.
—Field Level Media