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2016-17 MAC Men’s Basketball Recap: Ohio Bobcats vs. Buffalo Bulls

A Kenny Kaminski jumper with less than a second left propelled the ‘Cats past the Bulls in a 74-72 thriller.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

In one of the best games of the #MACsketball season to date, the Ohio Bobcats overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half to steal an important road win in the league as they downed the Buffalo Bulls 74-72. Kenny Kaminsky scored the go-ahead jumper for the ‘Cats (11-3, 3-0 MAC) as Ohio was an Antonio Campbell point away from having all five starters score in double-digits. Meanwhile, the Buffalo (7-9, 1-2) Big Three of Willie Conner, Blake Hamilton, and C.J. Massinburg had a huge night as they combined for 45 points and 27 rebounds.

The Bulls imposed their will early on in the game as a Massinburg trey pushed UB’s lead to 18-9 with 12:11 remaining in the first half and they kept the foot on the gas as the lead was stretched to 15 points following an Ikenna Smart layup with under eight minutes to go. Buffalo managed to coast into the locker room with a 42-28 halftime lead.

The script was flipped in the second half as the Bobcats, slowly but surely, started clawing their way back into the game as a Jason Carter free throw cut the deficit to 50-45 with 11:56 left in the half. Then, Ohio finally took the lead following a sequence of six straight free throws at the 8:27 mark to set the score at 57-55. The two team battled down the stretch until Massinburg delivered two free throws to tie the game at 72 with 40 seconds to go. A couple of misses by Jaaron Simmons late put the ‘Cats in a precarious position, but he made up for it by feeding Kaminski for the go-ahead bucket with under a second left, giving OU the lead and the win.

Buffalo was phenomenal on the glass as it outrebounded Ohio 50-38 (16-7 on offense), but the Bobcats had an equalizer with their ability to get to the charity stripe as the team went 24-35 from the line while the Bulls were 15-25. The teams are pretty much even as far as other statistics go, which is what you would expect when these two get together on the hardwood. This is a tough loss for UB to take following the way it took care of business against Eastern Michigan, but it’s still a very dangerous team in the MAC. Ohio is rolling right now as it is unbeaten in conference action and is mere days away from a huge clash with Akron, who is also unblemished in the MAC.

The Bulls look to get back on track Saturday as it hosts Ball State at 2 p.m., while the Bobcats face a tough Eagles team in the friendly confines of the Convo at 3:30 p.m.