AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) — Dontay Caruthers scored 21 points and No. 18 Buffalo cruised to its 21st straight home victory, 83-59 over Ball State on Tuesday night.
CJ Massinburg had 16 points and nine rebounds, while a smothering defense forced 18 turnovers as the Bulls scored the first seven points and never trailed.
Buffalo (19-2, 7-1 Mid-American Conference) hasn’t dropped a home game since a 73-62 loss to St. Bonaventure on Dec. 2, 2017. The 21-game streak is the second longest in the nation behind No. 13 Houston’s 30 in a row at home.
The Bulls also matched their best record through 21 games, set by the 1964-65 team that finished 19-3.
K.J. Walton scored 18 before fouling out for Ball State (11-10, 2-6), which dropped its third straight. Cardinals leading scorer Tayler Persons finished 2 of 12 for six points.
Massinburg’s game-opening basket on a hook shot put him over 1,700 points for his career. And with his 10th point, Massinburg moved ahead of Mike Martinho (1,708) for fourth on the school list.
Ball State hit just three of its first 16 attempts, including missing its first eight 3-point attempts, and fell behind 21-8 on Massinburg’s putback of Ronaldo Segu’s miss with 8:09 left in the first half. The Cardinals entered the game coming off a 78-74 loss at Ohio on Saturday in which Ball State hit one of its final 10 attempts over the final 5½ minutes.
The Cardinals were shooting as cold as the conditions were wintry outside, where a lake-effect storm was forecast to drop between and 1 and 2 feet of snow on the region through Wednesday night.
Mother Nature even played a role after a flash of lightning caused a large portion of the lights to go out inside Alumni Arena during halftime. The game was delayed for about 20 minutes before the lights fully returned with Buffalo leading 35-22.
The Bulls eventually started putting on a show to spark what became a 12-2 run.
Jeremy Harris hit Montell McRae for an alley-oop to put Buffalo up 50-36. Davonta Jordan set up Jayvon Graves for an alley-oop 30 seconds later. And then Harris got the crowd on its feet by capping a transition drive with a dunk.
The already injury-depleted Cardinals lost starter Trey Moses, who appeared to twist his left ankle after Caruthers scored on a transition layup early in the first half.
Moses lay on the floor for several minutes before being helped up and had difficulty putting weight on his left foot. He spent the remainder of the game on the bench.
Ball State also continues playing without two regular contributors. Sophomore forward Brachen Hazen (back) missed his 13th consecutive game and sophomore guard Ishmael El-Amin (wrist) sat out his ninth straight. Hazen is expected to return before the end of the season.
Ball State: The Cardinals looked nothing like a team that had four of five MAC losses decided by a combined 13 points. Injuries are an issue, but that doesn’t entirely explain how sloppily the Cardinals played.
Buffalo: Since they were in control from the opening tip, it was easy to overlook the Bulls going 7 of 31 on 3-point attempts and shooting 12 of 24 from the free-throw line.
Ball State: Host Kent State on Saturday.
Buffalo: Travels to face Bowling Green in a Friday night matchup of the MAC East Division’s top teams.