Bulls reach double-digit victories in the MAC with win over Central Michigan

The Beasts of the East continue to roll over the competition; MAC record vaults up to 10-1

February 06, 2018 - 9:28 pm

Kyle Powell reporting

The U.B. Bulls men's basketball team (17-6, 9-1 MAC) took to the road as they squared off with a Mid-American Conference foe in the Central Michigan Chippewas (15-8, 4-6 MAC).

The Bulls, led by head coach Nate Oats, came into this game looking to start up a fresh winning streak, as their previous nine-game run was snapped by the Kent State Golden Flashes on January 30th. Kent State overcame an 18-point halftime deficit to upend U.B. 82-79, but the Bulls bounced back from their first MAC loss with a victory over Western Michigan 92-86 last Friday in Alumni Arena.

As for the Chippewas, they came into this tilt riding high. This past Saturday, Central Michigan and the Ohio Bobcats orchestrated an absolute thriller, as the teams locked horns all evening. The Chippewas eventually emerged victorious in double overtime by a final of 101-98 in double overtime.

With a three-game lead in the MAC East and a strong 6-3 road record under their belts, Buffalo looked to keep chugging along in this magical season they have compiled to this point.

As for Tuesday, both teams got off to raucous offensive starts. A mere 4:22 into the first half, the score was 17-12 favoring the Bulls. Both U.B. and Central Michigan combined to shoot 12-of-13 from field goal range in the first four minutes, with Bulls junior guard Jeremy Harris etching six of the team's early 17 points.

The scoring pace subsided in the following minutes, until the Bulls busted out an 8-0 run to stretch their lead up to 30-18 at the 8:36 mark of the opening half.

At halftime, Buffalo sported a 37-29 road advantage over the Chippewas. Despite zero free-throw attempts in the opening 20 minutes, the Bulls were able to shoot at a prolific 16-of-32 pace as the offense continued to hum. The aforementioned Harris was tied for the team-lead in scoring with fellow junior C.J. Massinburg. The tandem each registered eight points, while junior forward Nick Perkins tallied seven of his own.

With 15:51 left in regulation, the Bulls jumped out to their largest lead of the night. Sprinting out to a (9-4) advantage in the second half, U.B.'s eight-point lead suddenly became 13 as the score ballooned up to 46-33.

At the 6:53 mark of the latter half, Jeremy Harris took it upon himself to stop the potential bleeding for U.B. In the past few games, the Bulls have made an unfortunate trend of allowing MAC opponents to creep back into the picture. Harris made sure to pad the advantage as Central Michigan was within striking distance at 62-52; in a span of mere seconds, the guard nailed consecutive three-pointers to extend the late lead to 16, 68-52. The pair of threes lifted Harris' game-high total in points to 22.

The final seconds got hairy despite Buffalo's efforts to avoid a close contest. Central Michigan was able to cut the lead down to four with as late as :09 left, but thanks to clutch free throws down the stretch, the U.B. Bulls were able to hold off the Chippewas by a final score of 88-82. The MAC victory gave the blue and white an even 10 conference victories, increasing their win/loss margin back up to nine in the process.

Each conference win pads the MAC East lead more and more for the Bulls, as they creep closer to clinching the conference. 

The Bulls will be back in action this Saturday at Northern Illinois, as they will play the role of "road warrior" for the fourth time in their last five games. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. You can hear the game on our sister station, ESPN 1520.

Be sure to tune in 30 minutes before game start to hear Josh Whetzel on the pre-game Show, as he will go in-depth with analysis, player/coach interviews, and tell you everything you need to know as the Bulls look for MAC win number eleven at the hands of the Huskies.

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