Perkins powers No. 21 Buffalo into Miami (Ohio) matchup

Buffalo senior forward Nick Perkins has been on a scoring tear, putting up 25 or more points in three of the past four games.

Coach Nate Oats is even more impressed with his defense.

The team's sixth man will look to continue his dominant play when the No. 21 Bulls face Miami (Ohio) in Oxford, Ohio, on Friday night.

Perkins' defensive versatility allowed Buffalo to pull away from Akron 77-64 on Tuesday. The 6-foot-8, 250-pound Perkins filled the stat sheet with 25 points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks. That followed up a career-high 27-point outing against Kent State last week.

"You could tell Nick was just locked in," Oats said in the Buffalo News.

"He was guarding people and didn't really care about anything but winning the game. We started switching the ball screens there, because it was really causing problems. We were giving up layups and jumpers and everything off of them. Then Nick switched, and I don't think he gave up a bucket on any of those switches."

The Bulls (25-3, 13-2 MAC) carry a six-game winning streak into Friday's contest and lead the Mid-American Conference's East Division by two games. This is the first of three remaining games before the conference tournament.

Senior guard CJ Massinburg had 23 points and 10 rebounds against the Zips, who led a majority of the second half. Sophomore guard Jayvon Graves' block and fast-break dunk, which gave Buffalo a four-point advantage, provided a spark in the final six minutes.

"It was a really big momentum swing," Massinburg told the News. "After that play, I think they called a timeout and we got the guys together and we were like, 'Yep, it's time. It's time. Right here. This is where we go. This is where we make our run. This is where we put this game away and take control of it.'"

The RedHawks (15-13, 7-8) did the Bulls a favor by defeating the East's second-place team, Bowling Green, on Tuesday. Sophomore guard Nike Sibande led Miami with 20 points and sophomore forward Dalonte Brown added 15 in the 82-69 road victory. The RedHawks canned a season-high 15 3-pointers.

Miami will host a ranked team at Millett Hall for the first time since 2001.

"We understand Buffalo's coming in and it's a national TV game and everything else," RedHawks coach Jack Owens said. "Buffalo is a great team (but) no matter when or who you play in this league, you've got to be ready to go. I know the guys will get up for that (game)."

The RedHawks are trying to position themselves to host an early-round game in the MAC tournament.

"We have an opportunity to improve our situation," Owens said. "You go from Tuesday, going on the road, and then you have two home games, then you go back on the road. Just trying to position yourself to the best of your abilities to finish this year out (strong)."

The Bulls cruised to an 88-64 victory in the first meeting with the RedHawks on Jan. 12.

--Field Level Media

Copyright 2019 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Our Latest Stories