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Ohio beats Buffalo for its first MAC title since 2012, NCAA bid

Ben Roderick added 20 points for Ohio, which built a 20-point halftime lead, held off Buffalo's comeback, and won its seventh MAC title.
Credit: AP
Ohio's Ben Vander Plas (5) fouls Buffalo's Jeenathan Williams (11) who is under pressure from Ohio's Lunden McDay (15) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Mid-American Conference tournament, Saturday, March 13, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Jason Preston scored 22 points and made big plays at both ends of the floor as Ohio won its first Mid-American Conference Tournament championship since 2012, 84-69 over Buffalo, which was trying for a record third straight title. 

The Bobcats (16-7) are in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012, when they shocked Michigan on their way to the Sweet 16. 

They’ll receive the league’s automatic bid when the seedings are announced Sunday night. 

Ben Roderick added 20 points for Ohio, which built a 20-point halftime lead, held off Buffalo's comeback, and won its seventh MAC title.

Bulls coach Jim Whitesell said this about his team's performance:

"I'm really proud of my guys they just didn't play a sharp first half and they got behind and you know couldn't keep that at bay around like 10 or 12 instead got down to like 20 and I really thought that was significant. We fought back in the second half and played much harder, much better, I shouldn't say harder just more connected um but you know uh I give Ohio a lot of credit I mean two weeks ago it was kind of the other way around down there so that's basketball and you've got to play your 'A' game on championship night and they did and we did not."