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Buffalo holds off Ohio to create 5-way tie for 2nd place in MAC

Carter misses late chance to tie game

ATHENS – Jason Carter missed on a shot that could have tied the game, and Buffalo’s C.J. Massinburg hit two free throws to cap an 83-79 Buffalo victory against Ohio on Tuesday night at the Convo.

Ohio gradually rallied from 11 down early in the second half, getting as close as one on a Gavin Block layup with 18 seconds left. Dontay Caruthers split two free throws a second later, leading to Carter’s final chance.

Carter led the Bobcats (18-10, 10-7 Mid-American Conference) with 19 points and nine rebounds, Jordan Dartis scored 18 points, Jaaron Simmons finished with 15 points, and Block had 11 points.

Massinburg and Willie Conner finished with 19 points each, and David Kidiri hit all seven of his field goal attempts to score 14 points.

After leading 40-36 at halftime, Buffalo (16-14, 10-7 MAC) stretched its advantage to 54-43 with 16:16 remaining with a 7-0 run. Ohio had a 6-0 run that cut its deficit to 65-61 at the 9:36 mark, and a Carter basket got the Bobcats as close as 73-71 with 5:12 remaining.

Simmons fouled out with Ohio trailing by five with 3:43 remaining, and the Bulls went up 80-74 on a Massinburg layup with 2:32 to go. Block answered with an offensive rebound and basket, and he split two foul shots with 1:01 left to make it a three-point game before his final basket made it 80-79.

Dartis and Kenny Kaminski hit back-to-back 3-pointers to begin the game, but Buffalo took the lead with an 8-0 run that made it 20-14 with 12:33 to go. Ohio briefly regained the lead, 23-22, on a Carter layup with eight minutes left in the first half, but Kidiri’s dunk with 6:02 to go in the first half put the Bulls on top for good.

Simmons was just 4-of-15 shooting with four assists and six turnovers, while Carter was efficient on an 8-of-13 shooting night. The Bobcats shot 42.4 percent as a team, grabbed 17 offensive rebounds and forced 18 turnovers but gave up 56.1 percent shooting to the Bulls.

With only one regular season game left, Ohio is tied with Buffalo, Western Michigan, Kent State and Ball State for second place in the MAC. A finish in the top four would give the Bobcats a bye into the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament.

The Bobcats host Miami at 6:30 p.m. Friday at The Convo.

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