AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) — With a nine-day layoff between games, Buffalo’s players challenged each other in practice to stay sharp.
They may have given each other a tougher test than Dartmouth did on Wednesday night.
Nick Perkins had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 22 Buffalo scored the first 15 points and cruised to a 110-71 victory.
“I didn’t think we were going to have any problem scoring,” coach Nate Oats said. “Our practices are really intense, almost game-like. We didn’t even talk about Dartmouth for the first four days. We were really more concerned about us.”
Five players scored in double figures for Buffalo (4-0), which tied its record for points in a game since moving to Division I in 1994-95. The Bulls, who played without leading scorer C.J. Massinburg, have won their first four games for the first time since 1986-87, when they were in Division III.
Buffalo cracked the AP Top 25 for the first time last week.
“We’ve been a having a target on our backs since we’ve been winning the past year,” Perkins said. “It’s something that we’re used to. It got a little more intense with the number next to our name. Everybody outside of our conference is going to come at you.”
Davonta Jordan and Jayvon Graves scored 16 points apiece for Buffalo, while Jeremy Harris and Jeenathan Williams each had 11.
“Davonta got to the rim at will, and Jeremy was getting to the rim,” Oats said. “Any questions about whether we had rust or we weren’t going to be ready to play went out of the window in the first four or five minutes of the game.”
Ian Sistare scored 18 points for Dartmouth (3-2), all in the first half, and Chris Knight added 17.
Massinburg was sidelined with a sprained knee suffered Monday in practice. The senior guard had a career-high 43 points in the Bulls’ win over then-13th-ranked West Virginia, and is averaging 20.3 points per game. He’s expected to return sometime next week.
Buffalo made its first five shots. Dartmouth, meanwhile, missed its first eight before Sistare converted inside, and the Big Green never recovered.
“They’re really, really good at the beginning of possessions,” Dartmouth coach David McLaughlin said. “They run their stuff, but they’re really good at the end of possessions on the glass. If we were doing well at the glass, we were suffering in transition, and vice versa.”
Dartmouth made a push to make the game competitive in the first half, pulling within 28-25, but Buffalo used its size and speed to get easy baskets. Ten different players scored in the first half as the Bulls built a 55-39 lead at the break.
“We talk about pounding the stone,” Oats said. “At some point, they’re going to crack with as hard and as fast as we play. It’s going to blow the game wide open. We force teams to play fast.”
Buffalo shot 45 of 76 from the floor. The field-goal total was the most since Jan. 27, 1976, when the Bulls had 46 against Brockport State while playing at the Division III level.
Buffalo is just the third team from the Mid-American Conference to be ranked in the AP Top 25 since 2000. The others were Kent State in 2008 and Ball State in 2001.
Dartmouth fell to 3-55 against ranked teams. Its last victory over a ranked team was March 13, 1956, when the Big Green beat No. 14 West Virginia, 63-61.
Dartmouth: At San Francisco on Saturday.
Buffalo: Hosts Marist on Saturday.
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