BUFFALO, NY-Senior guard Jake Simmons (Rochester/School of the Arts) scored a career-high 43 points and became Buffalo State's all-time leading scorer en route to the Bengals (6-2) 101-98 victory over visiting Central Penn College tonight at the Sports Arena.
Simmons surpassed former NBA All-Star and Buffalo State Hall of Famer Randy Smith to become the school's all-time leading scorer, bringing his career mark to 1,722 points. Smith's previous record of 1,712 has stood since 1971. Simmons' previous single-game-high was 38 points against Fredonia in 2011. Simmons finished 15 of 23 from the field, 6 of 11 from 3-point range and 7 of 7 at the charity stripe.
Roderick Epps (Uniondale/Uniondale) bolstered the Bengals' offense with 28 points, and Anyar Majak (Rochester/Jefferson) also scored in double-figures with 11 points and added nine rebounds. Ryan Carney (Olean/Olean) grabbed a team-high 11 boards.
Simmons led the Bengals to an early six-point lead, netting 15 points in the 5:33 of the game. The Knights battled back and led by as many as six themselves before taking a 51-48 lead into the intermission. The Bengals looked as though they were going to run away in the second half, racing to a 14-point advantage with just under 10 minutes to play. That lead evaporated, however, as the Knights stormed back and held a 98-95 lead with less than a minute to play.
The momentum swung again in the Bengals' favor with 45 seconds remaining, however. With a three-point lead and possession, Central Penn was assessed a controversial intentional foul, as the point guard was charged with a flagrant elbow. Epps connected on both free throws and with the Bengals retaining possession, Simmons gave Buffalo State the lead with a layup with just 37 seconds to play. Simmons came up big seconds later at the other end with a shot block and a rebound. After being fouled, he hit a pair of free throws to push the lead to three, and an off-balance 3-point attempt by the Knights went begging at the buzzer.
Each team committed 21 fouls and the Bengals finished 17 of 24 at the free-throw line, while Central Penn was 23 of 31. Buffalo State shot 43-percent from the field, and the Knights hit 46-percent, but the Bengals held a 30-21 scoring advantage from beyond the arc.
Buffalo State will travel to Miami, Fla. and play a pair of games against Eastern Connecticut State and Coe (IA) on Dec. 21 and 22 respectively.