AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) — In wins over Arizona in last year’s NCAA Tournament and at West Virginia earlier this season, Buffalo learned what it takes to pull off an upset.
It also learned how to avoid the losing side of one.
“I think it gives us an advantage,” Bulls guard CJ Massinburg said, “because we know the recipe for disaster.”
Massinburg had 13 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists and four steals, and No. 17 Buffalo used a big second-half run to beat Division II Le Moyne 89-55 on Wednesday night.
Dontay Caruthers scored 20 points and reserve Nick Perkins had 18, helping Buffalo (8-0) continue its best start since the 1930-31 season. Jeremy Harris finished with 16 points.
“We came out in the second half as a much more mature group of guys,” Buffalo coach Nate Oats said. “Division II, unranked, it doesn’t matter, you have to play hard or it’s not going to happen for you. It’s nice to learn lessons and still get wins. So hopefully, we learned that lesson and it doesn’t happen again.”
Massinburg went 6 for 10 from the field while recording the second triple-double in program history. Shannon Evans also accomplished the feat on Dec. 30, 2014, against Binghamton.
The game was tied at 37 at halftime, but Buffalo grabbed control with a 23-0 run in the second half that lasted more than eight minutes.
“We never look down on the D-IIs and the D-IIIs, but you can see our step wasn’t there,” said Caruthers, who scored 14 points after halftime. “I wanted to give a little push to get everybody up and going.”
Zay Jennings scored 16 points for Le Moyne. The Dolphins made eight of their 12 3-pointers in the first half and led by a basket on four occasions.
Le Moyne coach Patrick Beilein said he hopes his team learned a lesson from the way Buffalo played over the final 20 minutes.
“To see these guys play that hard in the second half and our guys go through the motions, that’s a teaching point that I’ll take,” Beilein said. “These guys are still playing hard. How come we stopped?”
Le Moyne: This game counted as an exhibition for the Dolphins, who are 5-3 in Division II contests after losing an exhibition at Syracuse to open the season. Le Moyne has defeated three Division I teams over the past eight seasons, including Siena last season.
Buffalo: Ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time in program history, the Bulls improved to 15-0 against lower-level opponents since moving up to Division I for the 1992-93 season. Buffalo will face tougher tests later this month with games at Syracuse and Marquette.
Patrick Beilein lived in western New York while his father, Michigan coach John Beilein, was at Canisius from 1992-97. This was the first time Patrick Beilein coached in the area where his father grew up, and he estimated he had about 30 family members in the crowd.
“Hopefully they left with about 10 minutes to go,” he said.
Le Moyne hosts New Haven on Saturday.
Buffalo will make the 90-minute trip to St. Bonaventure on Saturday to face the only team that beat the Bulls on their home floor last season.
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