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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET12:00 PM GMT8:00 PM 北京时间5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST, Feb 22, 2019
Alumni Arena, Buffalo, New York

No. 25 Buffalo aiming high as Kent State visits

Buffalo broke some scoring records in its last game. What it hasn't been able to do is break away from Bowling Green in the Mid-American Conference East Division.

The 25th-ranked Bulls (23-3 overall, 11-2 MAC) are tied with the Falcons in the conference standings. Buffalo will try to at least keep pace with Bowling Green when it hosts Kent State on Friday. The Falcons will play at Ohio.

Buffalo set a program record for points against a Division I opponent by thumping Ohio 114-67 on at home Tuesday. It set another program record by making 19 3-pointers.

Barring a late collapse, the Bulls will make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team even if they don't win the MAC tournament. Their game against the Golden Flashes is one of five remaining regular-season contests.

"Our next 2 1/2 weeks is a huge stretch for us," coach Nate Oats told the Buffalo News after beating the Bobcats. "We're going to show people we're worthy of maybe a 6 or a 5 (seed). At one point, people had us as a 5 seed or a 6 seed. At one point we were 14th in the polls as a 4 seed. If we're going to get back into those conversations, we're going to have to have multiple wins like this. Not just one."

The Bulls have won four straight, but their previous two victories were by six points apiece, at Akron and Toledo.

"People are noticing our wins and what's supposed to be a dominating win, and we're escaping by six or four points," senior guard CJ Massinburg told the News. "The committee is looking at that type of stuff. So we're trying to take it possession by possession, and give a max effort. We can show the world we can get a very convincing win. What we've been doing hasn't been working. We didn't move at all in the AP rankings."

Sophomore guard Jayvon Graves erupted for a career-high 26 points, including seven 3-pointers, against Ohio after scoring a combined 25 points in the Bulls' previous four outings.

"I was struggling the last few games," Graves said. "I had to get comfortable playing the game."

Kent State gave Buffalo a tough battle in the teams' first meeting on Jan. 25 in Kent, Ohio. The Golden Flashes trailed by just three points with under three minutes to play before the Bulls finished the game with a 10-4 spurt to capture an 88-79 win.

Kent State (19-7, 8-5) holds the third spot in the MAC East. It lost at Central Michigan 84-74 on Tuesday, getting outscored by 15 points in the last 8:33.

"Obviously a disappointing loss," coach Rob Senderoff told the Kent Record-Courier. "Give Central Michigan credit, they made plays down the stretch on both ends of the floor. We've got to bounce back from this quickly."

Senior point guard Jalen Avery has missed the last three games with an ankle sprain, and his absence has disrupted the offense. Kent State is hopeful he can return for Friday's game.

Avery is the team's second-leading scorer (11.9) behind another senior guard, Jaylin Walker, who averages 21.8 points per game. Walker scored 21 against the Bulls in the first meeting but has been held below the 20-point mark in four of the six games since.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 21, 2019

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