SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Oshae Brissett scored 25 points, Frank Howard added 18 and Syracuse outlasted stubborn Buffalo 81-74 on Tuesday.
Tyus Battle added 13 points and Matthew Moyer chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds for the Orange (10-1).
Nick Perkins led the Bulls (7-4) with 18 points and Wes Clark added 15 in his first game for Buffalo. Clark, a transfer from Missouri, hadn’t played in nearly two years. He left the Tigers in February 2016 for what he said were personal reasons. The NCAA cleared Clark to play early Tuesday after his grades were posted and submitted to the NCAA. Leading scorer C.J. Massingburg was held to 14 points, six below his season average, on 2-of-13 shooting.
Buffalo fell behind 44-31 with 16:39 to go, but an 8-0 run, fueled by Jeremy Harris’ floater and 3-pointer, pulled the Bulls to 44-39. A floater by Battle ended the run, but Buffalo pulled to within four on a goaltending call on Syracuse center Paschal Chukwu on a shot by Nick Perkins. Buffalo took a 53-52 lead on a short jumper by Clark with under nine minutes to go. The teams then went back and forth. A baseline jumper by Perkins tied the score at 62. A layup and foul shot by Brissett gave the Orange a 65-62 lead and a short jumper by Marek Dolezaj extended the Orange lead to 67-62. Two straight turnovers by Howard led to buckets by Massinburg and Clark and gave Buffalo a 68-67 lead with three minutes to go, but a 3-pointer by Howard, two foul shots by Battle and a Howard layup gave Syracuse a 74-68 lead. Buffalo got no closer than four the rest of the way.
Syracuse shot 52 percent in the first half, but the Bulls hung tough, thanks to Clark’s 11 points that included 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc and a 2-pointer at the buzzer. Perkins had seven, and leading scorer C.J. Massinburg had just six, all from the foul line. He was 0 for 5 from the field.
Buffalo shot just 30 percent from the field and committed eight turnovers, which the Orange converted into 11 points en route to a 36-27 halftime margin.
Moyer almost had a double-double to lead Syracuse in the first 20 minutes. The freshman had 10 points, including two putbacks and a sensational baseline slam, and eight rebounds. Brissett chipped in with eight points. The Orange were uncharacteristically efficient from the 3, making 3 of 7.
Buffalo: It was a great effort by Buffalo, and the Bulls go on the road with some confidence, bolstered by the return of Clark.
Syracuse: The Orange were severely tested by Buffalo, perhaps a letdown after their comeback win over Georgetown. Syracuse has another tough test Friday against a good St. Bonaventure team.
Buffalo has a quick turnaround as the Bulls travel to No. 8 Texas A&M Thursday.
Syracuse continues its four-game home stand Friday against another upstate New York team, St. Bonaventure.