Marcus Keene (3) fouls Jaaron Simmons (2) on a drive against the Bobcats. (Nickolas Oatley/WOUB)

Big Shots for Buffalo Beat Bobcats Late

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With Ohio trailing 73-71 with just under five minutes to play in the game, one big, momentum-swinging stop could have been all the Bobcats needed to regain the lead.

Buffalo’s C.J. Massinburg shot a deep 3-pointer that was off the mark but an offensive rebound by the Bulls allowed them to retain possession and kick it right back out to Willie Conner who connected from deep. The three-point basket gave Buffalo a 76-71 lead and silenced the hopeful Convocation Center crowd and Buffalo went on to win 83-79.

The Bobcats had one final possession to try and tie or win the game, in-bounding the ball under the basket with 6.2 seconds left in the game. Jason Carter’s shot rolled off the side of the rim and Buffalo’s Massinburg pulled down the rebound to seal the game for the Bulls.

“I got to my right-handed hook and got it up, but I just didn’t get a friendly roll,” Carter said about Ohio’s final possession to tie the game.

Ohio jumped out to a 9-3 lead to start the game, but the Bulls quickly answered with a run of their own. After Ohio’s early run, the bulls responded with a 17-5 stretch that gave them a 20-14 early first-half lead.

Buffalo then controlled the majority of the first half, heading into the locker room at halftime with a 40-35 lead. Leading the way for the Bulls in the first half was David Kadiri who shot a perfect 4-for-4 from the field. He accumulated eight points and three rebounds in the first half as well. The Bobcats’ high-point man in the first half was point guard Jaaron Simmons who recorded nine points, including two made baskets from three-point range.

Ohio battled in the second half as they outscored the Bulls 44-43 but never saw the winning side of the scoreboard in that period. Carter finished the game as Ohio’s leading scorer with 19 points and added nine rebounds. Jordan Dartis shot 50 percent from beyond the arc, connecting on 4-of-8 attempts with 18 points. Jaaron Simmons fouled out late in the fourth quarter and finished with 15 points and four assists. Buffalo was led by both Willie Conner and C.J. Massinburg who each poured in 19 points in the win. David Kadiri shot a perfect 7-of-7 from the field with 14 points and big shots whenever the Bulls needed it.

Tuesday’s win for Buffalo brings them even with Ohio in the Mid-American Conference East standings, tied for second place. Buffalo head coach Nate Oats said that he had MAC Tournament seeding on his mind coming into tonight’s game and that it was definitely important for them to come away with a win tonight for that reason.

“It was a big team win for us and we needed it bad to try and stay in the hunt of getting a bye,” said Oats.

The Bobcats fall to 18-10 on the season, 10-7 in MAC play and look to bounce back this Friday inside the Convocation Center against bitter rival Miami to wrap up the regular season. The Bulls, who improve to 16-14 overall with a 10-7 MAC record, will welcome the Bowling Green Falcons that very same night.