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2016-17 MAC Men’s Basketball Recap: Buffalo Bulls vs. Pittsburgh Panthers

The Bulls fell 84-79 despite Nick Perkins and his 23 points.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament- Miami vs Buffalo Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bulls (4-5) survived a horrendous start of the game and nearly pulled off the road upset, but it was not to be as the Pittsburgh Panthers (7-2) downed them 84-79 for their second win over a MAC team this season. UB got 55 points out of three players despite the loss and showed a lot of character battling back from a large deficit.

The Bulls got off to an abysmal start to the game as they went 0-10 from three-point range while the Panthers took a 41-18 lead with 6:40 left in the first half. However, UB managed to claw their way back by halftime as the team only trailed 49-37. The team got dominated on the boards by Pitt 19-10, but was able to force eight turnovers in the period.

The big three for Buffalo led the way as Blake Hamilton, Nick Perkins, and C.J. Massinburg accounted for 28 points, five rebounds, and two assists, but going 2-13 from three-point land certainly didn’t help the cause. Ryan Luther caused a lot of problems for the road team as he tallied 11 points, five boards, a block, and a steal.

Buffalo closed the gap even more in the second half as it got within five points of Pittsburgh around the halfway point of the half and within three points in the waning minutes of the game, but the team simply couldn’t get the stops it needed to as the Panthers hung on for the victory.

The teams were pretty much even statistically but the 14-21 mark from the free throw line for the Bulls proved to be costly, as did the 27-23 defensive rebounding disadvantage. Perkins carried the load for UB as he finished with 23 points on 11-18 shooting and eight rebounds, but he was 0-3 on three-points as the team struggled in that department with a 5-20 mark from that range. Michael Young and Cameron Johnson delivered 17 points each for Pitt, as Johnson nailed three treys and Young hauled in seven boards.

Buffalo hopes to get back to its winning ways on Saturday as it hosts Coppin State at 2 p.m.