Men's basketball falls to Buffalo in closing minutes


Senior forward Cecil Williams fights for the basketball during the game against Buffalo on Feb. 6 at McGuirk Arena.

Central Michigan men’s basketball challenged the Mid-American Conference’s best team, but didn’t have enough defense in the closing minutes of a close game.

The Chippewas (15-9, 4-7 MAC) fell to Buffalo (18-6, 10-1), 88-82, snapping their two-game winning streak.

“Buffalo as we watched them on tape was as advertised," said head coach Keno Davis. "I think in the first couple of minutes they showed why they are the best team in the conference, yet at the same time I was proud of our teams effort, when things got tough we didn't go away and that says a lot."

The loss dropped the Chippewas to 9-4 at home this season and 2-4 in conference play in McGuirk Arena.

The Bulls started the game 7-of-7 from the field and 3-of-3 from deep, leading 17-12.

Buffalo built a 30-18 lead midway through the first half, led by a pair of junior forward Nick Perkins layups.

The Chippewas would get a few hustle plays and layups from sophomore guard Kevin McKay to cut into the lead at halftime, but still trailed 37-29.

Davis said he was satisfied with his teams start offensively, but they have work to do on defense.

"We came out and shot the ball well but we had no answer for them defensively," Davis said. "We let them run a lot, which they've done to almost every team in this conference."

To open the second half, UB got a 3-pointer from from freshman guard Jayvon Graves to cap off a 9-4 run, taking a 46-33 lead. 

Bulls’ junior guard C.J. Massinburg hit a layup through contact, than converted the free throw to give UB its largest lead at 60-45 with nine minutes to play.

Harris knocked down two more 3-pointers, eventually leading to a 22-point night, giving UB a 68-52 advantage with five minutes left the second half.

CMU would pull back within six points with just under two minutes to play, but the Bulls were able to ice the game with some late free throws.

Williams (23) and transfer guard Shawn Roundtree (20) led the Chippewas offense with a combined 43 points. McKay and sophomore forward David DiLeo each had 12 points, respectively.

Roundtree said CMU's 8-of-34 (23.5 percent) performance from beyond the arc was an "off night".

“We just missed a lot of shots but give (UB) credit for defending them well," Roundtree said. "We have confidence in our shots, hopefully we can make more fall in the next game."

The Chippewas will head back on the road to play Akron at 2 p.m. on Saturday in James A. Rhodes Arena.

Game notes

  • The Chippewas hit five of their eight 3-pointers in the closing five minutes.
  • Massinburg, Clark and Harris all shot 50 percent or better from the floor for the Bulls.
  • All nine players who received minutes for UB scored in the game. 7-of-10 scored for CMU.