Jan 12, 2018
Buffalo (11-5, 3-0 MAC) vs. Miami (OH) (9-7, 2-1 MAC)
January 13, 2018
Alumni Arena - 2:00 pm
Bulls on the Air
Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App
Television - ESPN3
• The Bulls return home to begin a two-game home stand on Saturday afternoon when Buffalo hosts Miami at Alumni Arena. The Bulls are the only undefeated team in the MAC through three games and are looking to start 4-0 for the first time since joining the league.
• Miami leads the all-time series 24-17 as the two teams split their meetings last year, both winning at home. UB won the last contest between the two schools, a 71-58 victory at Alumni Arena.
• The Bulls lead the MAC in scoring and they are averaging 91.3 points per game through conference play. In three MAC games, UB is outscoring its opponents by an average of 17.3 points per game.
• The UB defense allowed Akron to shoot just 3-of-23 in the first half on Tuesday, the fewest field goals allowed in a half by the Bulls since Pitt-Bradford had three in the opening half on November 13, 2015. UB allowed just 64.0 points per game in its most recent road trip to Ball State and Akron. It was the first time since joining the league that Buffalo had won back-to-back road games by 20 or more points.
• Prior to Saturday's game, junior CJ Massinburg will be honored as the latest member of the 1,000-point club, the seventh fastest to do so. Massinburg is just 15 points shy of moving past Mitchell Watt for 16th on the all-time scoring list. On Thursday, he was named to the Lou Henson Award watch list, presented to the nation's top Mid-Major player.
• Head coach Nate Oats enters today's game with 48 career victories. He is just one win shy of tying V. William Hughes (1979-82) for seventh on all-time wins list.
• The Bulls have had six different players score 20 or more points in a game this season, led by CJ Massinburg, who has done it nine times. The six different players are tied for the national lead with Georgia Southern, Gonzaga, Penn, Seattle, and Arizona State.
• Junior Jeremy Harris averaged 16.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game during road wins over Ball State and Akron.
• Miami is 9-7 on the season and 2-1 in MAC play following an 80-69 win over Kent State on Tuesday night. The RedHawks have had some success under their first-year head coach, opening league play with a 77-72 win at Bowling Green. Miami opened the year winning its first three games and had a stretch in December where they won four of five.
• Miami is led offensively by Nike Sibande who is averaging 13.9 points per game and Darrian Ringo, who is averaging 10.0 points per game, while leading the MAC in assists with 128. Logan McLane is averaging 9.3 points per contest and leads Miami with 6.4 rebounds per game. In all, six Miami players are averaging at least 7.3 points per game.
• It will be a contrast of styles on display Saturday as Buffalo enters the game as the top scoring offensive in the league, while Miami is second in scoring defense averaging 69.9 points per contest. The RedHawks are also second in the league in field goal percentage defense and 3pt% defense.
• Jack Owens is in his first year as head coach at Miami as he is the 27th head coach in Miami basketball history. Owens spent the past nine seasons on staff at Purdue University, three as an assistant coach and the last six years as its associate head coach. Since his arrival, the Boilermakers have recorded 209 wins (23.2/year), including 27 during the 2016-17 season, helping Purdue win a Big Ten Regular Season Championship. Owens came to Purdue after a five-season stint as an assistant at Southern Illinois. Prior to joining SIU, Owens served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Eastern Illinois, during the 2002-03 season, and spent the 2001-02 campaign as an assistant at Barton County Community College.
Junior CJ Massinburg became the newest member of the 1,000-point club in the MAC opener against Toledo as he scored 27 points against the Rockets. Massinburg is the 20th player to score 1,000 points for the Bulls and he is the seventh fastest to do so, achieving it in his 73rd career game, which is quicker than previous MAC Players of the Year Turner Battle, Mitchell Watt, and all-time leading scorer, Javon McRea.
After scoring just eight points in the opener, Massinburg has scored double figures in each of the last 15 games, scoring at least 20 points nine times. He scored 30 at Delaware, the second time in his career he has done that. Twice this year, Massinburg has been named the MAC East Player of the Week and he is currently second in the MAC in scoring at 19.0 points per game. Massinburg is also UB's leading rebounder on the season, as he is averaging 8.1 boards per contest, which is fourth in the league. He has a team-high six double-doubles on the year, including recording a career-high 14 boards at Delaware. The six double-doubles are third most in the Mid-American Conference. He was most recently named to the watch list for the Lou Henson Award, which is awarded to the nation's top mid major player.
Massinburg is 17th on the all-time scoring list with 1,047 career points.
Wild, Wild Wes
The Bulls got a huge boost to their lineup prior to the Syracuse game on Dec. 19 as senior Wes Clark was cleared to play by the NCAA, marking his first collegiate game since February 13, 2016 when he played for Missouri. Clark, who joined UB last January, has been practicing with Buffalo since then, but he was finally able to play in his first game at Syracuse.
Clark scored 15 points and had six assists in his UB debut, picking up the start and playing 34 minutes. Clark added 17 points and eight assists against Texas A&M. Clark scored 27 points in his Alumni Arena debut on Dec. 29, scoring 13 of those points in the overtime period. It was a new career high for Clark as he scored 26 against South Carolina, while playing for Missouri.
He played his high school basketball for Buffalo head coach Nate Oats at Romulus High School right outside of Detroit, MI.
Clark had 25 points and five assists in the win over Toledo, and he is averaging 17.2 points and 5.7 assists over his first six games.
In The Nick Of Time
Junior Nick Perkins got off to a fast start to the 2017-18 season as the Ypsilanti, MI native had a career-high 26 points in the season-opening win over Canisius. The 26 points were the most by a UB player in a season opener since Nikolai Alexeev had 26 against Niagara on November 19, 1999.
Perkins came off the bench for the first time this season against Syracuse and he ended up leading the Bulls in scoring with 18 points, while also pulling down seven rebounds, including six offensive ones. Perkins has had some of his best games against Power 5 competition. In addition to 18 against Syracuse on Dec. 19, Perkins had 20 points as a freshman against Miami (FL) in the NCAA Tournament, and last season he added 23 points at Pitt. He added 17 points against SEC foe Texas A&M. Perkins had his first double-double of the year with 24 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Toledo. He recorded back-to-back double-doubles following his 15 points and 11 rebounds at Ball State. Perkins has now come off the bench in six straight games and he is averaging 17.4 points per game in those contests. Perkins was named the MAC East Player of the Week following back-to-back wins to open conference play where he averaged 19.5 point and 10.5 rebounds. He currently leads UB in scoring in MAC play at 18.7 per game.
Dialing From Long Distance
The Bulls had one of their best games from behind the arc in school history in the loss at nationally-ranked Texas A&M on Dec. 21. The Bulls hit 17 three-pointers in the game, second in school history, and the most since hitting 18 against Troy State on Feb. 22, 1996 when UB went 18-for-40 in the contest.
Buffalo shot 17-of-39 from behind the arc against the Aggies as four players hit at least three triples, led by a career-high six three pointers from CJ Massinburg. Senior Wes Clark and juniors Jeremy Harris and Montell McRae each hit three. McRae was a perfect 3-of-3. The 17 three's made by the Bulls were the most by a MAC school against a Division I opponent this year.
It can be argued that sophomore Davonta Jordan is one of the most improved players in the nation from last season and that was capped off with his first career 20-point game at Delaware. Jordan averaged just 2.5 points per game last year, but this season he is averaging 9.4 points per game. Through the first 16 games, Jordan has 141 points, already surpassing the 76 he scored all of last year. He has 11 three-pointers, nine more than last year. Jordan had 15 points in the win over Toledo, and he added eight points and four assists in the win over Akron.
Leading The Charge
Head coach Nate Oats begins his third year on the Buffalo sidelines, having comprised a record of 37-30 during his first two years. He is the only coach in UB school history to record 20 wins in his first season as a head coach and his 37 wins in his first two years are the second most by a UB coach behind only Bobby Hurley, who had 42 wins over his first two years.
Oats surpassed his predecessor on Dec. 9 vs. Central Penn as he picked up his 43rd win in his 76th game as head coach. With 48 career wins, Oats is just one away from tying V. William Hughes (1978-82) for seventh place on the all-time wins list
One the most of anticipated newcomers is wearing #2 on the Buffalo team and that is junior college transfer Jeremy Harris, who came to UB from Gulf Coast College, where he was ranked as the second best junior college player in the nation by JUCORecruiting.com.
Harris led the Bulls with 21 points and added 10 rebounds in the overtime contest against Rhode Island in the charity exhibition. He had a stretch for the Bulls where he scored eight straight points, erasing an eight-point deficit on his own. He led the team with 17 shots taken, but also added three assists and three steals. Harris recorded double doubles in both exhibition games as he added 13 points and 11 rebounds against Daemen. Harris had a pair of 17-point games during the Cayman Classic as he recorded double figures in scoring in all three games. He had 17 points and six rebounds against nationally-ranked Cincinnati and added 17 points and four assists in the win over UAB. He had 11 points and five assists against South Dakota State. His best game so far came against Niagara as he finished with a career-high 23 points, going 5-of-8 from three-point range. He also added seven rebounds and six assists. Harris recorded his first career double-double against Central Penn and added 14 points and nine rebounds in the win over Robert Morris. Harris had a big afternoon against Ball State as he finished with 16 points in the win over the Cardinals. He followed that up by scoring a game-high 17 points in the win at Akron.
The Bulls hit the magical 100-point number for the first time this season during their 106-87 victory at Niagara. The 106 points tied the school record for points scored in a road game, matching the total from March 2, 1974 at Rochester. It was only the fourth time ever that Buffalo had scored triple figures in a road game and it was the most points in a road game since a 100-92 win at Chicago State on November 21, 2001.
For the first time since the 1997-98 season, the Bulls hit 100 points in multiple games in the same season following their 104-94 win against Toledo in the MAC opener. The 104 points were the second most scored by UB in a MAC game and their most ever in regulation of a MAC contest. While the Bulls have already scored 100 or more twice against D-I schools, the rest of the league combined only has one 100-point performance against a D-I opponent.
Luck Of The Irish
Freshman Jayvon Graves comes to Buffalo from one of the most well known high schools in the country in the St.Vincent-St. Mary's out of Akron, OH, the same high school as NBA MVP and World Champion, LeBron James. Nicknamed the Fighting Irish, Graves and his high school teammates won the Ohio State Championship last season and Graves was named the Ohio State Player of the Year.
He had three points against Rhode Island, draining a three-pointer. Graves had a strong second half against Daemen and nearly put up a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds. Graves finished with nine points and four rebounds in the win over UAB. He added seven second half points against Delaware, while also pulling down six rebounds. Graves scored 11 points, while adding six rebounds in the win over Central Penn. He had his second straight double-digit performance with 10 points against Robert Morris.
Graves recorded a career high 16 points in the win at Ball State as he went 5-for-8 from the field, including 4-of-5 from behind the arc. He added 11 points in his homecoming at Akron and is now averaging 11.3 points per game in conference play.
Junior Ikenna Smart made his season debut on Saturday against Robert Morris after missing the first nine games of the season due to a back injury. Playing in his 67th career game, Smart recorded a new career high in scoring with 12 points as he went a perfect 6-of-6 from the field in 21 minutes of action. Smart was relentless on the offensive glass as he had six rebounds in total, four of those coming on the offensive end.
Cleveland Is The Reason
A native of Cleveland, OH Montell McRae is the new man in the middle for the Bulls. A transfer from South Plains Junior College, the same school as former UB player David Kadiri.
In the exhibition against Rhode Island, McRae had 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, while adding an assist, three blocks, and a steal. McRae had 10 points in the win over Jacksonville State for his first regular season double figures performance. He scored a new career high with 13 points against Central Penn. McRae went a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc against Texas A&M on Dec. 21. Playing close to his hometown of Cleveland, McRae had a big night at Akron as he finished with 11 points and five rebounds, including four on the offensive end.
McRae was part of a South Plains team ranked first nationally for much of the season as they went 32-2 last year.
Freshman James Reese has already ignited the Buffalo crowd prior to even playing his first regular season game with the Bulls. It began over the summer, when Reese made national headlines for his dunks at the UB team camp, showing up on media outlets across the country.
Reese's athleticism extends to just his dunking and he made a strong impression in the charity exhibition against Rhode Island as he had 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc. Reese's best game so far this year has been against South Dakota State where he recorded seven point and four rebounds. Reese also had seven points against St. Bonaventure. He picked up his first career start at Delaware and in the win over Central Penn, Reese had a career-best 18 points, while adding six rebounds and six assists.
Reese was named the State Player of the Year in South Carolina as he played his ball for A.C. Flora where he won two state titles, leading his team to a 21-2 record during his senior season. He averaged 25.0 points per game during the year.