Central Michigan guard Presley Hudson (3), Tinara Moore (2) and Kyra Bussell (50) celebrate after defeating Buffalo 96-91 in an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Mid-American Conference tournament Saturday, March 10, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

Cent Michigan women edge Buffalo 96-91 to capture MAC title

March 10, 2018 - 2:31 pm

CLEVELAND (AP) — Micaela Kelly and Presley Hudson scored 26 points apiece, Tinara Moore and Reyna Frost had double-doubles and Central Michigan earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament with a 96-91 win over Buffalo on Saturday in the Mid-American Conference championship game.

Moore had 17 points and 14 rebounds and Frost had 10 points and 11 boards for the Chippewas (28-4), who made 10 of 13 free throws in the final 67 seconds. Cassie Breen also had 10 points as Central Michigan, in its 50th season, surpassed the 1983-84 team that finished 27-3 for most wins in school history.

The top-seeded Chippewas lost in the last two championship games, including a heart-breaking overtime buzzer-beater to Buffalo in 2016. To make its first tournament since 2013, Central Michigan avenged its last loss, an 85-82 setback in Buffalo. That is now eight wins in a row and 20 in the last 21.

Cierra Dillard had 26 points and 10 assists for the Bulls (27-5), who had won 11 straight since losing to Central Michigan in the first meeting. Stephanie Reid scored 15 points and Summer Hemphill and Autumn Jones added 13 apiece.

Central Michigan led 43-40 at the half and pushed the lead to 66-56 late in the third quarter as Moore, the MAC regular-season MVP, had a basket and two free throws. The Chippewas led by 11 with 3½ minutes to play but the Bulls got within six two minutes later before the free throw parade began.

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