TOLEDO, Ohio | No. 25 Buffalo shakes off poor start, beats Toledo 88-82

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Nick Perkins matched his career high with 26 points — hitting four 3-pointers in the second half — to help No. 25 Buffalo beat Toledo 88-82 on Friday night.

The Bulls (22-3, 10-2 Mid-American Conference) fell behind 10-0 and 17-4 in the first half, but Toledo (20-5, 8-4) never came all that close to delivering a knockout blow. Buffalo star CJ Massinburg picked up three fouls in the first half and finished with only 14 points, but the Bulls calmly worked their way back after their poor start.

This was perhaps the most anticipated game of the MAC regular season — a rematch of last year’s conference tournament final.

Buffalo won that game and also beat Toledo by 30 last month, but the Rockets figured to put up a better fight on their home court.

They did, but only to a point. Toledo led 39-36 at halftime, and the Bulls didn’t go ahead until Davonta Jordan’s 3-pointer put them up 59-56 around the midway point of the second half. Soon after that, Perkins made a trio of 3-pointers in quick succession, giving Buffalo a 70-62 lead. The Bulls held on from there.

Jaelan Sanford led Toledo with 24 points.

BIG PICTURE

Buffalo: The Bulls have been knocked off a couple times in conference play, but this was one of their more impressive wins. Not everything went right for Buffalo by any means, but there should be little doubt that this team is the class of the conference after this poised performance on the road.

Toledo: The Rockets should be disappointed that they couldn’t maintain their double-digit lead until halftime, especially with several Buffalo players dealing with foul issues. Toledo still leads the MAC West and may get another shot at East-leading Buffalo in the conference tournament.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Buffalo stayed in the Top 25 after losses to Northern Illinois and Bowling Green, and the Bulls may move up now, depending on how voters view this win away from home.

UP NEXT

Buffalo: The Bulls play their next three games at home, starting Tuesday night against Ohio.

Toledo: The Rockets play at Eastern Michigan on Tuesday night.

By NOAH TRISTER , Associated Press