A streaky first half and a topsy-turvy second where the Kent State Golden Flashes gradually asserted control led to the visitors gaining a 77-69 victory over the Buffalo Bulls tonight, ending UB’s seven-game winning streak over KSU.
The game started slow offensively, with the score standing at 3-2 Buffalo after two minutes, but the Bulls stepped on the gas when Blake Hamilton hit David Kadiri for an alley-oop. Nick Perkins added three several minutes later after the teams traded points to make the lead four. Deon Edwin was sent to the line after being fouled by Hamilton, but could only make one shot, and the Bulls took the ball down the court. Edwin had his swift revenge, dispossessing CJ Massinburg on the ensuing possession and bringing the ball right back up for two. Jalen Avery then hit for three to give Kent State the lead.
Perkins had the ball stolen with ten and a half minutes left in the first, and Edwin put the ball in to put Kent State up 16-10. Massinburg countered with two points of his own, the Bulls’ first field goal in several minutes. Massinburg tied the game at 16 on a layup at 8:20, triggering a Golden Flashes timeout.
The Bulls added to the Flashes’ woes after the timeout, as Blake Hamilton sunk a three pointer while being fouled. He went to the line and made three points four, putting Buffalo up 20-16. After another Kent State basket, Massinburg drew a foul, and hit both shots to restore a four-point lead. Dontay Caruthers smacked a pass down and went the other way, but the Flashes fouled him, giving Buffalo the ball at half-court.
The Bulls could not do anything on the possession, but Hamiton made the lead six, their largest of the night so far, before four minutes. The Flashes cut the lead to one at 1:20, but Hamilton turned a fake into a dunk to put Buffalo up three in the last minutes of the half. Ikenna smart was called for a foul on the next Kent State possession, and Jalen Avery made both shots. Kent deflected the ball out of bounds with one-tenth of a second left in the first, but Buffalo could not do anything with it, and they went into the half with a 33-32 lead.
Edwin missed a dunk to start the second half, but Jimmy Hall put a basket up to open scoring and give Kent State the lead. The two teams traded leads several times until a Massinburg layup made Buffalo’s lead three. The Bulls were later dispossessed and Mitch Peterson hit from beyond the arc to put Kent State up 43-41, and a Smart dunk made the game equal again.
With Kent State leading 47-43, Buffalo’s Hamilton was fouled heading down the court after intercepting a pass. The Bulls could not do anything on the possession, and Kent’s Adonis De La Rosa made his team’s lead six before Buffalo’s Willie Conner halved it from three.
Hamilton continued his stellar defensive play, and was fouled again taking the ball the other way, but the Bulls couldn’t make anything of it. De La Rosa was given a technical foul for post-play words to Buffalo’s Raheem Johnson, and the Bulls got one point and the ball down two.
Both teams found themselves in the bonus before the ten-minute mark in the second, and Hamilton tied the game from the line.
Kent State took a five-point lead, and Kadiri did the Bulls no favors by missing a tip-in. Jimmy Hall went back to the line for the Flashes and made both shots, giving himself 20 points and his team a six-point advantage. Jaylin Walker made it seven with a three-ball before the five-minute mark, and De La Rosa made it eight, putting in a teammate’s poor shot. Continuing the symmetry, Walker made Kent State’s lead nine on a tip-in.
Buffalo came within five with 1:28 left, but Kent’s Jimmy Hall drew another foul and converted both, making the score 71-64 Kent. Dontay Caruthers fouled out with 1:15 remaining, and Deon Edwin made one shot. The Bulls came back up the court, but Edwin rebounded a shot and was fouled again. He hit one shot, and the Golden Flashes rode their lead to a 77-69 win.
Kent State is now 16-12 overall and 8-7 in MAC play. Buffalo drops to 15-13 on the season and 9-6 in conference.
The Golden Flashes take on Ohio at home on February 25, while Buffalo has Akron at home on February 24.