BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team rallied to defeat Kent State, 66-65, at Alumni Arena on Saturday night in the Mid-American Conference opener for both schools.
It was a tight game throughout with 12 ties and 11 lead changes. Neither team led by more than five points until Kent State took a 55-47 lead with 11:21 remaining in the second half. Kent State's Randal Holt drained a three-pointer to put the Golden Flashes ahead, 58-52, with 8:22 left.
However, following a Titus Robinson dunk and a Javon McCrea layup, Jarod Oldham stepped up and drained just his fourth three-pointer of the season, late in the shot clock, to give the Bulls their first lead of the second half, 60-59, with 5:14 left.
Kent State recovered to take a 62-60 lead with 4:00 left. Oldham found McCrea for layups on the Bulls' next two possessions. His second layup gave the Bulls the lead for good, 64-62, with 1:45 left.
Buffalo (8-4, 1-0 MAC) played solid defense down the stretch and came up with key rebounds to hold off the Golden Flashes. The Bulls held Kent State to only four field goals in the final 11:21 of the game (4-of-19).
"It was typical Mid-American Conference basketball, where it was nip and tuck and you had to dig yourself out," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "I thought our man-to-man defense was a big difference in the game. We showed growth in that area. I thought offensively, when we were able to make more passes and get in rhythm, I thought we got some pretty good looks at the basket."
McCrea led all scorers with 25 points. He scored seven of UB's last 10 points of the game. Titus Robinson was a huge spark off the bench with a season-high 14 points and added six rebounds. Mitchell Watt added 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots.
The Bulls dominated the glass, outrebounding Kent State, 42-30. Dave Barnett had seven rebounds to go along with seven points and three steals.
Kent State (10-4, 0-1) had three players score in double-figures, led by Justin Greene's 16.
Buffalo will next hit the road for two straight games, starting at Ohio on Wednesday night.