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Bobcats can't slow down 1st-place Bulls

Buffalo pulls away for 108-82 victory

BUFFALO, N.Y. – For 10 minutes, a hot-shooting offense helped Ohio play with Buffalo, but while the Bobcats cooled off, the first-place Bulls never did on their way to a 108-82 victory Saturday at Alumni Arena.

A bucket by Doug Taylor gave Ohio a 26-21 lead with just under 10 minutes remaining in the first half, but Buffalo took over from there, holding an 87-56 advantage the rest of the game. Buffalo shot 52.7 percent for the game and took advantage of 30 free-throw attempts by making 22.

"If you're not getting stops, your margin for error is razor thin," Ohio coach Saul Phillips said.

Buffalo (21-8, 13-3 Mid-American Conference) showed off its depth by putting six players in double figures, with its two leading scorers coming off the bench. Nick Perkins scored 21 points in just 23 minutes, while Dontay Caruthers scored 19 points in only 18 minutes. CJ Massinburg (15 points), Jeremy Harris (12), Wes Clark (12) and Davonta Jordan (11) also scored more than 10 points.

"We tried to make Caruthers a scorer, and he made us pay," Phillips said. "Our transition defense was not good for us. Wes Clark, off the screen-and-roll, was really masterful off it. We didn't have an answer tonight."

Teyvion Kirk paced the Bobcats (12-16, 5-11 MAC) with 21 points, with Mike Laster scoring 19 points. James Gollon had 13 points, Taylor scored 12 points, and Gavin Block had 11 points.

The Bulls followed Taylor’s bucket with six straight points. The Bobcats three times tied the game after that, including at 31 on a Taylor dunk with 5:53 left in the half, but the Bulls went up for good on back-to-back 3-pointers by Harris and Clark. Buffalo scored 25 points in the final 5:11 of the half to go up 56-42 at the break.

Ohio got as close as 65-53 on a Gollon 3-pointer with 16:26 remaining, but the Bobcats could not match the Bulls the rest of the way. An 11-0 run gave Buffalo an 81-57 lead midway through the second half.

"We just kind of got a little lazy defensively and didn't want to run back or run with this team," Taylor said. "It hurt us a lot. The transition thing really popped out."

With two regular-season games remaining, the Bobcats are in a four-way tie for last place and is two games back of No. 8 Bowling Green, meaning Ohio almost certainly will be on the road in the first round of the MAC tournament.

The Bobcats likely play their final home game when they host the Falcons at 7 p.m. Tuesday at The Convo.

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