"The first five minutes of the second half, which we talk about so frequently, I thought that was a pivotal time," head coach Robert McCullum said. "Buffalo had got up in the passing lanes in the first half and really took us out of our offense. During that stretch Melvin Buckley really played like you expect a senior to play."
Buckley and senior forward McHugh Mattis scored the Bulls' first 13 points of the contest – including a 3-point play and a trey from Buckley – on their way to a 3-point, 31-28, halftime lead.
Buckley ended the first half with 17 points, including two long range shots and a 7-of-10 performance from the charity stripe.
In the first half, USF converted 14-of-19 from the free-throw line while Buffalo had only five attempts, making four.
Within the first four minutes of the second half, USF took an early seven-point lead, but Buffalo chipped away at the score, bringing the game within three points following a three by sophomore Eric Moore.
In the final five minutes, USF extended the lead by as many as 18 points due to two long-range conversions from Buckley and one from Bozeman.
USF shot just 31.8 percent from the field in the first half, but came out of the locker room gunning, making 63.6 of its attempts after the break. The Bulls from Tampa also hit 62.5 percent from behind the arc, making 8-of-17.
USF hit 27-38 free throws while Buffalo made 13 of their 30 attempts in game with 42 fouls, 26 from Buffalo.
Sophomore forward Aris Williams also made his USF career debut, pulling down three defensive rebounds and blocking two Buffalo shots in 24 minutes on the hardwood.
Mattis also hit double-digits, scoring 11 points while blocking three shots and making three steals. Senior guard Chris Capko recorded eight assists while senior forward Melvyn Richardson pulled down eight boards.
USF continues its five-game home stand Friday night against South Carolina State. The game will tipoff at 7 p.m. in the Sun Dome
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