EditorsNote: reworded 7th graf; 9th graf, change in play by play; tweaks to 10th graf
Nick Perkins had 26 points and 10 rebounds off the bench and No. 25 Buffalo overcame a slow start to defeat Toledo 88-82 in a matchup of Mid-American Conference division leaders on Friday in Toledo, Ohio.
Buffalo (22-3 overall, 10-2 conference) took a half-game lead in the East Division while defeating the Rockets for the second time this season. CJ Massinburg had 14 points, Montell McRae supplied 12 and Jeremy Harris added 11 points with 10 rebounds. Dontay Caruthers chipped in 10 points and three assists off the bench.
Toledo (20-5, 8-4), which hosted a ranked team for the first time in 20 years, was led by Jaelan Sanford’s 24 points and 10 rebounds. Marreon Jackson contributed 20 points, and Luke Knapke tossed in 11 points with eight rebounds and three assists.
Led by Jackson’s 12 points, West Division leader Toledo held a 39-36 halftime advantage.
The Rockets streaked to a 10-0 lead with Knapke scoring half of those points. When Sanford drained a jumper less than 6 1/2 minutes into the contest, Toledo’s lead was 13.
When Nate Navigato made a layup with 3:27 remaining in the half, Toledo’s lead was still 10. The Bulls then used an 11-4 spurt to close the gap before the break. Harris had a three-point play and Caruthers made two layups during that span.
Toledo scored the first five points of the second half and still led until Caruthers made two free throws with 12:54 left to tie the score at 52-all.
Buffalo took its first lead with 10:11 remaining on a Davonta Jordan 3-pointer off a feed from Harris, giving the Bulls a 59-56 advantage.
Perkins hit two 3-pointers in just under two minutes, lifting Buffalo’s lead to 70-62 with 5:38 left.
The Rockets scored the next three points, but Massinburg answered with a 3-pointer. Harris hit two free throws with 3:14 left to make it 75-68. Massinburg soon increased the advantage to 10 with two more free throws.
Toledo never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
—Field Level Media