Bulls Hit Century Mark in MAC-Opening Win Over Toledo, 104-94

Nick Perkins

BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team opened Mid-American Conference play with a bang on Tuesday night as the Bulls took down Toledo in an offensive slugfest, 104-94.  It was the second time this season that Buffalo went over the century mark and the second time that three players scored over 20 points.  The victory improves UB to 9-5 on the season and 1-0 in league play.

The beginning of the night belonged to junior CJ Massinburg, who drilled a three-pointer with 17:40 left to go over the 1,000 point mark for his career, the seventh fastest to do it school history. Senior Wes Clark followed that up with a three of his own to give the Bulls an early 12-4 lead. 

Toledo took its largest lead of the night at 29-25 with 7:57 left, but the Bulls answered with a quick 10-3 run to retake the lead.  With the game tied at 37-37, the Bulls went on an 8-0 run over a two minute period to take a 45-37 lead following a three from freshman Jayvon Graves.  The Bulls went on to take a 47-41 lead into the break.

UB built its largest lead of the game early in the second half as a layup from Davonta Jordan put the Bulls ahead 55-43.  The Rockets answered thought and cut it to two with 12:53 left following a three from Marreon Jackson.  Toledo pulled within one twice, including with 10:42 left, but the Bulls hit six straight shots from the free throw line to go back up by seven.

Toledo again pulled within a single possession with 5:57 left as UB led just 82-80.  However, a quick 6-1 run put Buffalo back up by seven.  A layup from Massinburg gave Buffalo a 92-83 lead with 3:24 left, but Toledo had one last push as a three from Jaelan Sanford cut it to five with 2:47 remaining.  The Bulls answered with a jumper from Clark and they hit free throws late to clinch the win.  A late layup from Jordan gave UB its third 12-point lead of the game, but the Rockets hit a shot at the buzzer for the final 10-point margin.

"I knew we would have success offensively tonight and we showed that we can score as well as anybody in this league," said head coach Nate Oats. "We need to continue to get better on the defensive end if we want to win a Championship, but Toledo is a really good team and that is a great win to start off conference play."

The offensive numbers were similar to the game earlier this year at Niagara, which was the last time UB scored over 100 points this season and the last time three players scored over 20 points in the same game.  The 104 points were the second most UB has ever scored in a MAC game and the most scored in regulation.  It is also the first time Buffalo has had multiple 100-point performances in the same season since 1997-98.

Massinburg led the Bulls with 27 points as he went a perfect 10-of-10 from the free line. He also added seven rebounds, two assists and three steals.  He now has 1,024 points in his career, good for 17th all-time.

Clark had 25 points, his second straight 20-point performance, as he went 10-of-16 from the floor.  Clark also added five assists and a steal. Junior Nick Perkins had a big night inside as the Ypsilanti, MI native had 24 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for his first double-double of the season.  Perkins went 12-of-13 from the free throw line.

Jordan finished with 15 points and five assists, while Graves added seven off the bench, including a pair of blocks.  Junior Jeremy Harris finished with six points, six rebounds, two block and two steals.

UB finished the night with just six turnovers, its fewest in a game since recording six in a 93-66 win over Ohio on March 3, 2015.  The Bulls were also extremely efficient from the free throw line as UB went 27-31, just over 80%.  The 27 points from the line are a season high.

Toledo fell to 8-6 with loss as Buffalo snapped the Rockets' three-game winning stream.  Tre'Shaun Fletcher led Toledo with 27 points.  Willie Jackson had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bulls will continue MAC play on Saturday afternoon when they hit the road for the first time in 2018 with a matchup at MAC-West leading Ball State.  The Cardinals are currently riding a nine-game winning streak.  Tipoff is set for 2:00 pm and can be seen on ESPN3.