KENT, Ohio – There is just something about the MAC Center that the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team can’t quite get past.
The Bulls entered Wednesday’s game with Kent State 0-15 against the Golden Flashes in that building. And although they had a double-digit second-half lead, the Bulls’ woes continued as they dropped an 83-81 overtime decision. Chris Evans hit a jumper at the buzzer to give Kent State the win.
Javon McCrea’s big night – he scored 32 points and pulled down 15 rebounds – wasn’t enough for the Bulls, who saw an end to their four-game winning streak in the Mid-American Conference. UB fell to 6-7 in conference play and 11-17 overall.
The Bulls took a 41-32 halftime lead thanks in large part to solid shooting. Buffalo shot 57 percent from the field and had 12 assists on 16 baskets.
A steal and layup by McCrea gave the Bulls a 12-point lead, 53-41, with 15:40 left to play. But Kent State used a quick 5-0 burst to get the game back to single digits.
The Golden Flashes (16-12, 6-7 MAC) continued to chip away at the lead.
Randal Holt hit a pair of free throws with 1:22 left in regulation to tie the game, 73-73, for Kent State. Buffalo’s Jarryn Skeete had a shot at the buzzer to try to win the game, but it just missed.
The Golden Flashes used back-to-back three-pointers in overtime for an 81-78 lead with 52 seconds left, but Tony Watson hit his first three-pointer of the night with 19 seconds left to tie the game. Watson was fouled on the play and had a chance to put the Bulls up by one, but he missed the free throw.
McCrea scored 30 or more points for the third time this season, while picking up his 10th double-double.
Skeete and Will Regan each scored 14 points for the Bulls while Cameron Downing added 13 points.
The Bulls return to Alumni Arena on Saturday to face Akron at 6 p.m.
The Zips improved to 23-2 and 13-0 in the MAC after making a second-half comeback and defeating Ohio U., 88-81, in overtime in Athens, Ohio, on Wednesday. Akron earned the first national ranking in its history this week when it came in at No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.