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Ohio Men's Basketball Falls At Buffalo

Ohio Men's Basketball Falls At Buffalo

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By Mike Ashcraft
OhioBobcats.com

Box Score (PDF)

AMHERST, N.Y. -- The Ohio men's basketball team (12-16, 5-11 MAC) suffered a 108-82 loss to Mid-American Conference East Division rival Buffalo (21-8, 13-3 MAC) on Saturday (Feb. 24) at Alumni Arena.

The Bobcats led by as many as eight in the opening 20 minutes of play, but the Bulls used a 23-11 run over the final 5:53 of the half to take a 14-point lead into the break at 56-52. First-place Buffalo never led by less than 12 in the second half and led by as many as 28 at one point 

The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for Ohio.

Buffalo's 108 points marked the most by an opponent this season, and its 52.7 percent (39-of-74) field goal percentage marked the best shooting performance against Ohio this season. The Bulls also led the box score in rebounds (48-32), assists (27-17), points in the paint (58-30), second-chance points (22-6) and bench points (56-14).

"If you're not getting stops, your margin for error is razor thin," said fourth-year head coach Saul Phillips of the loss.

The Bobcats saw five players finish in double figures in points in the loss. Freshman guard Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.) led the way for Ohio with 21 points, marking his sixth outing of the year with at least 20 points. He has now finished in double figures in points a team-high 26 times this season -- including each of the last 20 contests. Kirk also tied for the team lead with three assists in addition to adding four rebounds and a steal in 32 minutes. Senior guard Mike Laster (Detroit, Mich.) finished with 19 points to finish in double figures for the 20th time this year. He also posted three assists to tie for the team lead as well as three boards and a steal in 33 minutes of action. Redshirt sophomore guard James Gollon (Stevens Point, Wis.) tallied 13 points for the second game in a row and finished in double figures for the eighth time this year – including achieving the feat five times in the last seven games. He shot 4-of-8 from the floor with a pair of three-pointers and converted three of his four free throw attempts. He also chipped in a rebound, an assist and a steal over 29 minutes in his third-straight start. Junior forward Doug Taylor (Columbus, Ohio) achieved his third double-double of the year with 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. He shot 6-of-9 from the floor. Taylor also chipped in two assists, two steals and a block in 30 minutes. He has now blocked 55 shots on the year, tying him with Maurice Ndour (2013-14) for the 10th-most in a single season in program history. Junior guard/forward Gavin Block (Lincoln, Ill.) provided 11 points off of the bench thanks in large part to sink three treys in the first half. He also logged two assists and a rebound over 26 minutes of work. 

The Bulls saw six players finish in double figures in the victory. Junior forward Nick Perkins matched Kirk as the game's high scorer with 21 points off of the bench, going 7-of-10 from both the field and the free throw line. He also contributed four rebounds and an assist in 23 minutes. Junior guard Dontay Caruthers also gave Buffalo a boost with his play off of the bench, scoring 19 points thanks in large part to an 8-of-12 effort from the floor that included a pair of three-pointers. He also added three rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes of work. Junior guard CJ Massinburg went 5-of-12 from the floor with a pair of treys and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe en route to 15 points. He also totaled eight boards, an assist and a block in 27 minutes. Junior guard Jeremy Harris achieved a double-double for the Bulls with 12 points and a team-high 10 rebounds in 29 minutes. Two of his three field goals came from beyond the arc, and he sank all four of his free throw attempts. Harris also had two assists. Senior guard Wes Clark also gave Buffalo a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 11 assists. He also compiled five rebounds and two steals over 26 minutes. Sophomore guard Davonta Jordan contributed 11 points, seven assists and five rebounds over 22 minutes of action.

"We tried to make Caruthers a scorer, and he made us pay," said Phillips. "Our transition defense was not good for us. Wes Clark, off the screen-and-roll, was really masterful off it. We didn't have an answer tonight."

Ohio got off to a fast start, jumping out to a 13-5 lead with just under 17 minutes to play courtesy of three-pointers by Dartis, Gollon and Laster, a dunk by Taylor and a layup by Kirk. Buffalo countered by scoring eight unanswered to even the score with just over 14 minutes to go in the half, thanks in large part to four points by Perkins during the stretch.

The Bobcats got their lead back up to five at 26-21 with just under 10 minutes left in the first half as Block knocked down three triples in a span of less than two minutes, and Taylor hit a jumper. A dunk by Perkins, a layup by Caruthers and a pair of made free throws by Harris gave the Bulls their first lead of the game less than two minutes later, though.

The Bulls went up by two on a layup by Perkins with just over 16 minutes remaining in the first half, but a dunk by Kirk on Ohio's ensuing possession evened the score at 31-all. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, that's as close as they would get to leading the game again, as a three-pointer by Harris sparked a 23-11 run that sent the Bulls into halftime with a 14-point lead.

Ohio got no closer than 12 points in the second half. Caruthers did the bulk of his damage for Buffalo in the final 20 minutes, scoring 12 of his 19 points in the second half.

"We just kind of got a little lazy defensively and didn't want to run back or run with this team," said Taylor. "It hurt us a lot. The transition thing really popped out."

Ohio plays host to a Senior Day showdown against MAC East Division rival Bowling Green (16-13, 7-9 MAC) next Tuesday (Feb. 27) in the final regular season game of the 2017-18 campaign that will be played at the Convo. The opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. The game will be streamed live on WatchESPN and the ESPN app. The Bobcats will honor the careers of Laster, guard Antonio Bisutti (Dublin, Ohio), forward Sam Frayer (Cincinnati, Ohio) and graduate forward Kevin Mickle (Brooklyn, N.Y.) prior to the contest.

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