For the fourth time in the last five years, the Buffalo Bulls are the Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions and will represent the league in the NCAA Tournament. The Bulls pulled away late from Bowling Green to secure an 87-73 win in the championship game at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Saturday night.
The second half was a back and forth affair and Bowling Green held leads of 64-61 and 65-63 with just over eight minutes to play in the game. Both teams seemed to struggle with fatigue, playing their third game in as many nights. Then, Buffalo suddenly found another gear and outscored the Falcons 24-8 the rest of the way to claim the victory.
Tournament MVP, Jeremy Harris had a monster game for Buffalo. The senior finished with 31 points on 13 of 20 shooting from the field. It seemed every time the Bulls needed a bucket, Harris would deliver.
But he wasn’t the only hero for Buffalo. Jayvon Graves and Davonta Jordan hit some big three pointers down the stretch that either kept the Bulls close or added to their lead. Graves finished with 17 points and Graves added 11. MAC Player-of-the-Year, C.J. Massinburg seemed to really be fatigued throughout the game, but he ended up with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Not bad for a guy that was obviously running on fumes.
The first half was a game of runs. Buffalo used a 19-0 run to take a lead by as many as 15 points, 28-13. Then, Bowling Green got hot and put together a 17-0 run of their own to close the half, and were down only 39-38.
Damajeo Wiggins was effective early for Bowling Green and finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. But he did most of that in the first half, as the Bulls limited him in the second half. Justin Turner and Daeqwon Plowden each had 16 points, and Michael Laster added 13 for the Falcons.
Buffalo improves to 31-3 on the year and will find out Sunday evening who and where they will be playing in the NCAA Tournament. Bowling Green is now 22-12 and will wait to see where it will play this postseason.