March 6, 2006
AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) - Calvin Cage had 30 points and helped Buffalo stave off a frantic Ball State rally in the Bulls' 80-72 win in the first round of the Mid-American Conference tournament on Monday night.
No. 8 seed Buffalo (19-12) advanced to the quarterfinal round and will play top-seeded Kent State on Thursday night.
The ninth-seeded Cardinals (10-18) were led by Skip Mills, who had a career-high 38 points in the loss.
Down by 16 at the break, Ball State went on a 20-8 run to cut the lead to 52-48 with 11:30 remaining in regulation. Mills had 11 points during the spurt, including three 3-pointers.
The Bulls responded with a quick 8-0 run to build their lead back to 12, but the Cardinals chipped away at the advantage and trailed by four points (69-65) with under 4 minutes to go.
Cage was then able to hit eight consecutive free throws to seal the win.
Mario Jordan added 17 points and seven rebounds for Buffalo, which lost to Ohio in overtime in last year's MAC championship game.
D'Andre Peyton contributed 11 points for the Cardinals.