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West Virginia holds off Buffalo comeback to advance in NCAA Tournament

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Devin Williams had 17 points and 9 rebounds as West Virginia held off a late Buffalo comeback to survive and advance with a 68-62 win in Columbus.

Juwan Staten, back in the lineup after missing the last four games with a knee injury, notched 15 points along with 7 assists.

Tarik Phillip hit a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left while the shot clock was winding down, adding the clinching points for fifth-seeded West Virginia.

WVU never trailed, but MAC-champion Buffalo didn’t go down without a fight. Trailing by 10 at halftime, the Bulls opened up the second half on 7-0 run. Xavier Ford was Buffalo’s leading scorer with 16 points, going 3 for 6 from beyond the arc. Shannon Evans also knocked down three from beyond the arc finishing with 15 points. MAC player of the year Justin Moss, coming back from an injury, had 13 points and seven rebounds.

Moss was called for a foul on WVU’s Williams late in the game with the score tied. Williams hit both free throws to put the Mountaineers back on top by two points, and Phillip’s 3-pointer was the dagger for Buffalo.

Buffalo did not score over the final 2:42 against the physical Mountaineers, as Williams came down with some key rebounds late in the game to allow WVU to milk the clock.

WVU’s next game will be on Sunday (time TBA) against the winner of the Maryland/Valparaiso game.

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