After trailing by a season-high 14 points at halftime, Ohio . . .
"I thought we were the most composed team tonight," Phillips said after watching his team come back from a 15-point second half deficit.
Ohio overcame a tough offensive night in which it shot 39.3 percent (22-of-56) from the field -- including just 27.3 percent (6-of-22) from three-point range. Buffalo also dominated the glass, outrebounding Ohio, 50-38, and finishing with 16 offensive boards.
The Bobcats went to the free throw line a season-high 35 times, however, sinking a season-high 24 freebies as Ohio took advantage of the Bulls being hit with three technical fouls in the second half. Buffalo attempted 13 three-pointers in the second half, but it managed to convert only one of them.
Redshirt junior guard Jaaron Simmons led Ohio with 14 points and five assists in 38 minutes.
Sophomore guard/forward Gavin Block provided the Bobcats with a season-high 13 points and eight rebounds as well as two assists, two steals and a block in 32 minutes.
Kaminski finished with 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Sophomore guard Jordan Dartis provided Ohio with 10 points, five boards, an assist and a steal.
Senior forward Antonio Campbell gave the Bobcats nine points, six rebounds, a block and a steal before fouling out with 7:12 to go.
Buffalo never trailed in the first half as sophomore forward Nick Perkins knocked down a jumper to provide the Bulls with the first points of the contest. A trey by senior wing Willie Conner gave the Bulls an 11-point lead with 5:15 remaining in the half. Sophomore wing Nikola Rakicevic sank a jumper at the first-half buzzer to send Buffalo into halftime with a 42-28 advantage.
The Bulls' lead swelled to a game-high 15 points with 15:36 to play when Rakicevic converted a conventional three-point play. Sophomore forward Ikenna Smart made a layup with just under 15 minutes to play to make it 50-36 in favor of the Bulls. His two points, however, would be the last Buffalo would score for over four minutes.
Ohio came roaring back with a 12-0 run. Block hit a three with 14:35 left to make it an 11-point game. Jason Carter then made it a single-digit contest with a tip-in bucket a minute later. A layup by Kaminski and free throws from Simmons and Carter trimmed the margin to five with just under 12 minutes remaining. Dartis then swished a trey with 11:29 to play to knock Buffalo's edge down to two.
Buffalo went back up by five after a layup by sophomore guard CJ Massinburg and a made free throw by Perkins. Mike Laster drilled his first three of the game to cut the Bulls' lead back down to two again, but a layup by senior wing Blake Hamilton gave Buffalo another four-point lead.
The Bulls unraveled from there, though, as Perkins was hit with back-to-back technical fouls, forcing his ejection from the contest. That led to six-straight free throws for the Bobcats, with Dartis draining four and Simmons making two to give the Bobcats their first lead of the game at 57-55 with 8:27 remaining.
Conner was then hit with a technical 15 seconds later, sending Laster to the charity stripe to make two freebies and give Ohio a four-point lead. Buffalo cut the ‘Cats lead down to one four times over the ensuing two-plus minutes, but Ohio went up by a game-high five points at 70-65 with 3:34 to play thanks to back-to-back layups by Block and Simmons.
Laster drew a foul off a missed shot by Simmons with 1:14 left and cooly sank a pair of free throws to make it a 72-68 Ohio lead. The Bulls made four free throws over the next 34 seconds, though, with Hamilton and Massinburg each coverting a pair of freebies to even the score at 72-all with 40 seconds left.
Simmons was fouled with 30 seconds left and missed a pair of potential go-ahead free throws, but Carter came up with a huge offensive rebound on the second miss. After Ohio burned its final two timeouts with 28 seconds left, Simmons got the ball into the hands of Kaminski, who faked a shot, dribbled to his right, faked another shot and then let go of a jumper just inside the three-point arc with Massinburg guarding closely. His shot fell to complete Ohio's huge comeback.
"I just kind of busted a move, and the ball was in the net," said Kaminski. "The emotions I'm feeling are incredible."
Hamilton achieved a double-double to lead Buffalo, totaling a game-high 17 points and 13 rebounds over 34 minutes. He also distributed a game-high six assists and tallied a block and a steal.
Massinburg also gave the Bulls a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards in 35 minutes.
Conner finished in double figures in points for Buffalo before fouling out, scoring 12 in 34 minutes.
Ohio hosts MAC West Division foe Eastern Michigan (10-6, 2-1 MAC) on Saturday (Jan. 14) at 3:30 p.m. ET. Buffalo remains home to entertain Ball State (2 p.m. ET).
(Courtesy of Ohio Athletics)