The Buffalo Bulls are headed back to the NCAA Tournament after a 76-66 win over Toledo in Saturday night’s MAC Tournament Championship. It will be Buffalo’s third NCAA Tournament appearance in four seasons.
Wes Clark led the charge on offense for the Bulls. Clark, the lone senior for Buffalo, poured in 26 points on 10 of 15 shooting. Nick Perkins also chipped in 16 points and helped pick up some of the slack left by CJ Massinburg, who had an abnormally-poor shooting night.
The Bulls were tested by Toledo on Saturday night. The double digit final score does not indicate how close the game was for most of the night. With just under five minutes to play, a Marreon Jackson three pulled Toledo into a 63-63 tie with Buffalo. But Buffalo closed the game on a 13-3 run, putting the game out of reach of the Rockets.
Toledo was also handed bad news prior to the start of the game. MAC Player of the Year Tre’Shaun Fletcher was unable to play after suffering a knee injury earlier in the tournament. Toledo was able to pull out a win in its semifinal against Eastern Michigan without Fletcher. However, his absence was felt as the second half wore on. The Rockets missed Fletcher on offense, and couldn’t come up with enough shots to counter the Bulls during the decisive run over the game’s final minutes.
The MAC Tournament championship comes after a dominant run through the MAC regular season. Buffalo ran away with the conference regular season title. The Bulls won eight straight to start conference play and finished 15-3 in the MAC. They then cruised their way to the conference title game and held off a tough Toledo squad.
The Bulls will be looking for their first NCAA Tournament win as a program.