German scores 26, N. Illinois holds off Buffalo 73-72

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Eugene German matched his season high with 26 points as Northern Illinois held off a late rally by Buffalo to defeat the defending Mid-American Conference champs 73-72 on Saturday.

The win was Northern Illinois’ first in Buffalo since 2003. German moved into third place on the NIU career scoring list with 1,859 points.

Lacey James added 18 points with 13 rebounds for Northern Illinois (8-6, 1-0), which shot 54% for the game (29-for-54). German drilled five 3-pointers including one to tie and one for the lead as NIU surged ahead after five minutes.

The Huskies held the lead until Buffalo’s Jayvon Graves hit two free throws that put the Bulls ahead 72-71 with 33.5 seconds on the clock. The Bulls forced five turnovers during a 9-0 late-game run.

Trenton Hankerson made two free throws — his only points of the game — to put NIU back on top for the win, 73-72.

Jeenathan Williams had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls (9-5, 0-1), Graves added 16 points, six rebounds and four steals. Josh Mballa had 11 points and 11 rebounds for his second career double-double.

Northern Illinois plays Central Michigan on the road on Tuesday. Buffalo plays Ball St. on the road on Tuesday.