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No. 19 Buffalo holds off Ohio 82-79

Taylor has career-high 20 points for Bobcats


ATHENS – No. 19 Buffalo used a hot-shooting first half to build a lead and then held off Ohio late 82-79 on Tuesday night at The Convo.

The Bulls made 11 of 20 3-poitners in the first half to take a 41-35 lead at halftime. They game was not locked up until Gavin Block’s three-quarters court shot at the buzzer missed wide off the backboard.

Doug Taylor had a career-high 20 points and six rebounds, while Teyvion Kirk had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Jason Carter finished with 15 points and five rebounds.

"You only get so many cracks at a ranked team in the MAC," Ohio coach Saul Phillips. "We had a crack and made a loud out. A loud out."

Jeremy Harris had 20 points and six rebounds, and CJ Massinburg finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists, with each hitting key 3-pointers late. Nick Perkins also scored 17 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls (27-3, 15-2 Mid-American Conference).

Connor Murrell could have tied the game at the foul line with 5:32 remaining but instead split to leave Ohio down 63-62. After two Massinburg free throws, Doug Taylor made one from the foul line, and Harris hit a jumper to make it 67-63.

Taylor answered with a layup inside to make it a two-point game again, and after a Buffalo miss, the Bobcats (13-16, 5-12 MAC) missed a pair of 3-point tries that would have put them on top. Massinburg then gave the Bulls some breathing room with a 3-pointer, and after two Carter free throws, Harris hit a 3-pointer that made it 73-67 with 2:30 to go.

Still down six, Gavin Block connected from deep to cut the Buffalo lead in half with 41 seconds to go. Massinburg made three free throws in the next two possessions, but Kirk got a kind roll on a 3-point attempt to make it 80-77 with 16 seconds left.

After two more Massinburg free throws, Jason Preston scored on a putback with less than two seconds left. Ohio sent Massinburg back to the line immediately with a foul, and he missed twice, giving the Bobcats a chance on Block’s heave.

"We were fighting till the end today," Murrell said. "They were hitting some tough shots but I feel like every time they did we answered."

Ohio briefly led in the first half, 15-14, on a Taylor layup at the 12:04 mark, but a Perkins 3-pointer put Buffalo up for good. Buffalo held its biggest lead at 39-29 on a Jayvon Graves 3-pointer with 2:36 to go before halftime, but the Bobcats cut their deficit to 41-35 by the break.

Baskets by Kirk and Carter scored back-to-back baskets to begin the second half, getting Ohio to within two. Buffalo pushed its lead back up to double digits at 57-47 on a Perkins dunk with 11:06 remaining and then got a Harris jumper to make it 59-47.

The Bobcats got back in it with a 13-2 run. Kirk hit a jumper, Murrell scored on a dunk, and Taylor converted a three-point play to make it a five-point game. After a jumper by Graves, Murrell scored on a putback, and Carter scored a three-point play to make it 63-61 before the Murrell free throw got Ohio to within one.

"I kept telling everyone in the huddles and in timeouts that I am having a great time out here,” Taylor said. “I am just having fun competing against great competition, the best we have played all year."

While Buffalo was sharp from the outside, going 15 of 34, Ohio stayed in the game despite going just 3 of 17 from deep, with two of those makes in the final minute. The Bobcats shot 49.3 percent overall, while the Bulls made just 42.4 percent of their shots.

Murrell finished with 9 points and four rebounds. Jason Preston had 8 points, five rebounds and five assists, and Block scored 8 points with four rebounds and three assists.

"I thought just overall 20 assists and 11 turnovers off their pressure was really good," Phillips said. "I think the only area where we were deficient offensively was behind the arc. I think our guys did a great job of absorbing our game plan."

Davonta Jordan scored all 12 of his points on four 3-pointers in the first half for Buffalo. Graves scored 10 points.

Ohio closes out the regular season when it hosts Miami at 7 p.m. Friday at The Convo.






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