The Buffalo Bulls were trying to send their second team to the MAC finals on the day, while Kent was trying to match their run from a season ago. The Quicken Loans Arena was lively.
The two teams battled for the first 10 minutes of the first half, before Buffalo worked the ball inside and built up a 39-29 lead at intermission. At the half, Danny Pippen led Kent with 8 points and 9 rebounds, while Jeremy Harris had 13 for the Bulls.
In the second half, the Buffalo defense was active around the rim, creating opportunities at the other end. They built up a 55-38 lead at the 14:30 mark.
On the ropes, Kent State showed heart, helped by a couple Jalen Avery 3 pointers, and were able to knock the lead down to 10, 56-46.
After some sloppy play by both teams, Ikenna Smart hit a couple threes to help re-establish a significant lead for the Bulls. Kent never gave up and were diving for loose balls even down by double digits with 2 to play. However Buffalo proved to be too much, winning 78-61.
Jeremy Harris led all scorers with 22, continuing his impressive MAC tournament. Kent State was led by Jalen Avery with 16. Danny Pippen added 10 points and 16 rebounds.
Kent out-rebounded the Bulls 43-41, but a big factor was the Bulls interior defense, which help explains the poor shooting by the Golden Flashes.