BUFFALO, NY – The homecoming was a sweet one for the Buffalo Bulls Saturday afternoon as the Bulls defeated Coppin State, 87-52, in its first game at Alumni Arena in over three weeks. Senior Willie Conner led the way, hitting a career-best eight threes as he tied his career high with 28 points.
The Bulls, who evened their . . .
Coppin State took its only lead of the day, 11-10, with 13:03 left, but the Bulls answered by going on a 14-1 run. Conner and sophomore CJ Massinburg scored the first seven points in the run, while Conner scored the last seven.
UB led by double figures for the entire second half as Coppin State never got any closer than 11. Back-to-back three pointers from Conner put the Bulls ahead 49-32 just three minutes into the second period. With Buffalo leading 55-38, the Bulls rattled off eight straight points. A fast-break dunk by Nick Perkins finished off the run, putting UB ahead 63-38.
Even with Buffalo up comfortably late, the Bulls had one more 8-0 run in them. The spurt included three pointers from freshman James Jones and sophomore Nikola Rackicevic. Jones added a late layup, giving the Bulls their largest lead of the game at 87-50. The Eagles hit two late free throws for the final margin.
As a team, the Bulls connected on 15 three-pointers in the game. It was the second most in school history, trailing only the 18 3-pointer game against Troy State during the 1995-96 season. The 15 threes were also the most in a game since last season when Buffalo hit 14 against Ohio in the MAC Tournament semifinals.
Conner tied his career-high with 28 points, while hitting eight threes, tied for third most in school history in a single game. It was also the most by a single player since Shannon Evans hit eight against Cornell on Jan. 3, 2015.
Massinburg, playing his second game this season, picked up his first start of the year and had 15 points, three rebounds and three assists. He did most of his damage in the first half, when he scored 11 of the 15 points.
Sophomore Nick Perkins added nine points and five boards, while senior Blake Hamilton had six points and a game-high six assists. Freshman Quate McKinzie had six points and a career-high nine rebounds off the bench. Jones finished with a career-best seven points.
UB had six blocked shots as a team, including three from senior Raheem Johnson and two from McKinzie. As a team, the Bulls shot 50 percent from the floor and 50 percent from three-point range, while they allowed their opponent to shoot just 27.6% from the field.
The Bulls return to action next Saturday at the Big 4 Classic. Buffalo will face Canisius at 3:30 pm at the KeyBank Center. It will be part of a Big 4 basketball doubleheader with St. Bonaventure and Niagara playing first at 1:00 pm.
(Courtesy of UB Athletics)