CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Buffalo is getting closer to ending its misery against Charleston Catholic, though it didn't happen Thursday night.
Junior all-stater Nick George continued his steady play with 17 points and eight rebounds as the defending state champion Irish held off the previously unbeaten Bison to post a 53-46 victory in a match of highly ranked Class A teams.
"Nick has played well all year,'' said Irish coach Bill McClanahan, "and knowing he is the focus of most teams' defenses when we roll into the gym. I think he's doing a pretty good job of maintaining his composure and not forcing things, and waiting on his opportunities.''
It marked the 30th straight time Catholic had beaten Buffalo. The Bison haven't earned a win against their Kanawha Valley rival in nearly 16 years - since March 5, 1997. But it sure didn't stop Buffalo from putting a scare into the Irish Thursday night.
When Laythen Good dropped in a 3-pointer from the top of the key with exactly two minutes left, the Bison (9-1) had sliced deficits as high as 13 points down to 47-44.
It got a chance to get even closer when Catholic's Garret McCarty missed the front end of a 1-and-1 at the 1:36 mark, but three straight turnovers doomed Buffalo's chances of ending its dry spell against the Irish. The Bison finished the game with 21 turnovers.
"Missed opportunities,'' said Buffalo coach Chuck Elkins. "We came down a couple times after they'd turned the ball over and never got anything. It was always catch-up.
"I think the turning point in the game was right at the end of the first half. We're up 23-22 and they score five quick points and go up at halftime. The rest of the game was pretty even.''
Isaiah Robinson and Levi Jordan each netted 11 points for Buffalo, the co-No. 3 team in the state. Dylan Rich grabbed six rebounds and the Bison held a 28-25 edge off the boards despite missing senior forward Jordan Fletcher, who is out with a knee injury.
Jordan also had four steals and Robinson three as Buffalo's three-quarter-court pressure often knocked the Irish out of their offensive rhythm and helped forced several of Catholic's 17 turnovers.
However, the Irish (6-1), ranked No. 2 in Class A, got some timely contributions from their complementary players.