Miami too much in 2nd half for Buffalo, holds on 79-72

Miami guard Angel Rodriguez dumps off the ball as he is pressured by Buffalo forward Nick Perkins, rear, during the second half of a first-round game of the NCAA college men's basketball tournament in Providence, R.I., Thursday, March 17, 2016. Miami defeated Buffalo 79-72. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
AP

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) Angel Rodriguez had 24 points and seven rebounds as third-seeded Miami held on to defeat No. 14 seed Buffalo 79-72 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

Sheldon McClellan added 20 points and five rebounds. It is Miami's first tournament win since it went to the Sweet 16 in 2013. The Hurricanes advance to play the winner of Arizona and Wichita State in the second round of the South Region on Saturday.

Miami (26-7) kept the Bulls at bay for most of the second half, leading by as many as 12.

The Bulls (20-15) finally got some traction, closing within 72-68 on a jumper by Lamonte Bearden with less than two minutes to play. But Miami hit enough free throws down the stretch to put the game away.

Nick Perkins had 20 points and six rebounds to lead Buffalo. Bearden added 19 points.