Jan 11, 2019
#19/#20 Buffalo (14-1, 2-0 MAC) vs. Miami (OH)(8-7, 0-2 MAC)
January 12, 2019
Alumni Arena - 12:00 pm
Bulls on the Air
Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/WHTK 1280 AM Rochester/TuneIn App
Television - CBS Sports Network
Presented by WellNow
• Buffalo closes out a two-game homestand on Saturday afternoon as UB plays its first game against MAC East competition against Miami (OH). The Bulls are one of just four MAC teams to enter the weekend with an undefeated 2-0 record, joining Bowling Green, Central Michigan, and Northern Illinois.
• The 110 points scored by the Bulls on Tuesday night are the most by a ranked team in a conference game this season. Only two ranked teams have scored 100 or more points in a league game this year as previous opponent Marquette did it with 106 points in an overtime win over Creighton.
• The Bulls are currently tied for the fifth longest home winning streak in the nation, having won their last 18 games at Alumni Arena. They are tied with Murray State for the fifth best record and trail just Houston, Charleston, Utah Valley, and Nebraska.
• At 14-1 Buffalo is having its best start through 15 games since the 1930-31 season when UB went 15-0 overall. It is only the third time in school history that Buffalo has started 14-1 or better, as the 1929-30 team finished its season 15-1. The Bulls have played most of the season away from home as they have eight road or neutral site wins, which is second in the nation.
• The Bulls are currently ranked 15th in the nation in scoring averaging at 85.3 points per game. They join Duke and Tennessee as the only one-loss teams in the top 15 in the nation in scoring.
• Miami enters Saturday's game with an 8-7 record and an 0-2 mark in league play following an 83-70 loss to Northern Illinois on Tuesday evening. Saturday will mark just the fifth true road game for Miami this season as they have already played eight games at home. The RedHawks went undefeated at home in their non-conference season, but have lost both MAC home games to start conference play.
• Sophomore Nike Sibande leads Miami in scoring as he is averaging 16.2 points per game and Dalonte Brown, who is averaging 15.3 points and a team-high 5.6 rebounds per contest. Point guard Darrian Ringo again leads Miami in assists as he has dished out 81 through 15 games, averaging 5.4 per game, while leading Miami with 42 steals.
• In the preseason poll, Miami was picked to finish in second place in the MAC East, behind Buffalo. Befor the most recent two-game skid, Miami had won five six games, including a victory at Wright State to go along with four others at home.
• Jack Owens is in his second season as head coach at Miami having led the RedHawks to their best season in seven years last season. He led Miami to 16 wins in 2018 and a berth in the College Basketball Invitational. It was the 'Hawks most victories and first postseason appearance since 2011. Prior to joining Miami, Owens spent the past nine seasons on staff at Purdue University, three as an assistant coach and the last six as its associate head coach. During his time the Boilermakers recorded 209 wins (23.2/year), including 27 during his final year (2016-17 season) to help Purdue win a Big Ten Regular Season Championship. Owens came to Purdue after a five-season stint as an assistant at Southern Illinois. In 2003-04, Owens was part of a Southern Illinois team that went 25-5 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In the next four seasons at SIU, Owens helped guide the Salukis to three more NCAA Tournament berths, a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16, a Missouri Valley Conference title and an appearance in the National Invitation Tournament. Prior to joining SIU, Owens served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Eastern Illinois.
Bulls Welcome In Miami For Saturday Matinée
Buffalo and Miami (OH) will matchup on Saturday afternoon in the first MAC East game for both teams. The RedHawks were one of three MAC teams to score a win over the Bulls last year as Buffalo and Miami split the season series, both winning at home.
The Bulls went 8-2 against the MAC last season with road losses at Miami and Kent State. Buffalo was perfect at home against the MAC last year. Miami will be the lone MAC East team that UB will play over the first six games of league play as the other five will be members of the MAC West.
Buffalo went over 100 points for the second time this season, tying a season high with 110 points against Toledo on Tuesday, its most ever against a MAC opponent. Now in his fourth season, head coach Nate Oats had recorded 100 or more points eight times, including seven against Division 1 opponents. Prior to Coach Oats taking the job, it took Buffalo between 1993-94 through 2014-15 to score 100 points seven times against D-I schools.
Tuesday marked the fifth time Buffalo has scored 100 points in a MAC game since 2015-16 when Coach Oats took over. All five of those performances have come in regulation. Central Michigan is the only other team to do it five times since 2015-16, but used overtime in four of those occurrences. Ball State had done it three times (two in overtime), and no other MAC school has done it more than twice.
UB In the National Rankings
Buffalo has become the 10th different MAC program to be ranked in the national AP poll in their history. All schools have been ranked at least once, except Akron and Central Michigan, however since 2000, only Kent State and Ball State have found their way into the national rankings. The Golden Flashes were the last program to do it, as they were ranked #23 in 2008, while Ball State spent four weeks in the polls during the 2001-02 season, peaking at #15. This is the ninth straight week in the AP poll for Buffalo. No MAC team has been in the polls for nine consecutive weeks or longer since Bowling Green during the 1961-62 season, when they were ranked for 11 straight weeks, the longest ever by a MAC program.
Three MAC programs have been in the Top 10 in their program's history as Bowling Green was seventh back during the 1961-62 season. Toledo, who has spent 22 weeks in the Top 25 in their history, was ninth in 1963-64, and Ohio has the highest ranking ever by a MAC school as they were fifth for two weeks in 1969-70.
As for Western New York programs in the Big 4, Canisius was ranked for 11 weeks during the 1956-57 season, while Niagara has spent 20 weeks in the polls, most recently in the 1969-70 season. St. Bonaventure has had the most success in the AP Poll as they have spent 82 weeks ranked over their history, ranking as high at #2 in the country. The last time they were ranked was during the 1970-71 season 48 years ago.
Massinburg Named To Oscar Robertson Midseason Watch List
Senior CJ Massinburg has done it all so far through the non-conference portion of his final season including being just one of 20 players nationally named to the Oscar Robertson Midseason Watch List, which is awarded to the nation's top player. Most recently had was also named to the midseason watch lists for the Lute Olsen Award, given to the nation's top player and the Lou Henson Award, given to the nation's top mid-major player. He had a career night in the win at nationally-ranked West Virgina as he scored 43 points and 14 rebounds. His 43 points are the sixth highest total by a player in the nation this year.
Massinburg is only the second player to surpass the 40-point mark against a Bob Huggins coached team at West Virginia and he is the first to do it since Andrew Wiggins of Kansas had 41 points on March 8, 2014. He is just the 10th player in that time frame to have at least 14 rebounds in a game against West Virginia and the first to do it from the guard position.
Massinburg then recorded the first triple-double of his career and just the second in school history in the win over Le Moyne as he had 13 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists against the Dolphins. The triple double was the first for a UB player at Alumni Arena and the first since Shannon Evans had one at Binghamton on Dec. 30, 2014. Massinburg is one of 15 players in the nation this year with a triple double.
Massinburg was named the MAC East Player of the Week after he had a game-high 25 points against Syracuse as he moved into fifth place on UB's all-time scoring list and he added 18 more at Marquette. He now has 1,585 career points and next up on the list for Massinburg is Mike Martinho (1994-98), who had 1,708 points in his career. Massinburg is one of just three players in school history with over 1,500 career points and 600 career rebounds, joining Javon McRea and Yassin Idbihi. Massinburg is one of only three players currently in the nation with over 1,500 career points, 600 career rebounds, and 250 career assists.
I Love The 80's
Last season the Bulls averaged 84.6 points per game, the highest scoring total in school history for a single season and this year they are on pace to surpass that, averaging 85.3 points per game, which is 15th in the nation. UB scored 80 points in 26 of its 36 games last season, which was tied for the second most 80-point performances with Duke. Villanova was the only team in the country with more 80-point performances at 29.
No other MAC team had more than 16 80-point games last season and that was Central Michigan and Toledo.
Buffalo continued right where it left off in the season opener, scoring 82 points in the win over St. Francis and 99 points against West Virginia. UB exploded for 110 points in the victory over Dartmouth and had over 80 points in each of the two games in Ireland, including 96 against Milwaukee. Buffalo scored over 80 in back-to-back games to end non -conference play with 85 at Marquette and 87 at Canisius. Following the 110 point outburst against Toledo, the Bulls have now scored 80 or more points 64 times in the 118 games with Nate Oats as head coach. The Bulls are 55-9 in those games when scoring at least 80 points.
History On The Horizon
The Bulls are looking to accomplish something this season that has never been done in Mid-American Conference history as no MAC school has ever won four conference tournament titles in a five-year period. Buffalo became the first MAC school to win three in a four-year period since Kent State did it in 1999, 2001, 2002. The MAC Tournament dates back to the 1979-80 season.
Perks And Recreation
Senior Nick Perkins was named the Most Valuable Player at the Belfast Classic and was named the MAC East Co-Player of the Week following back-to-back 20 point performances against Milwaukee and San Francisco. He earned MAC Player of the Week honors again following his 20-point, 11-rebound game over Southern Illinois and Perkins then had his second straight double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds at Syracuse. Following an 18-point performance at Canisius, Perkins moved into seventh place on UB's all-time scoring list, surpassing both Sam Pellom and Turner Battle on the list. He currently has 1,454 points.
Perkins, who was named to the midseason watch list for the Lou Henson Award, given to the nation's top mid major player, was named first-team All-MAC last season and he was named the MAC's Sixth Man of the Year for the second straight season.
The Harris Poll
Senior Jeremy Harris had a breakout year for the Bulls last season in his first season with the Blue and White. Harris was a second-team All-MAC selection as he averaged 15.5 points per game, including 17.4 points per contest in league games only. Over the 18-game MAC season, Harris led the league in three-point shooting at .463. Harris was one of just 11 players in the nation to shoot over 46% from three in conference games, while attempting over 100 three-pointers. He joins Pat Andree from Lehigh as the only two to do it, while also pulling in over 100 rebounds.
Harris began the season slowly from three-point range as he only hit multiple threes in a game once over the first four games, but he has hit multiple three pointers in a game in even of the last nine contests. He was 7-of-12 over the final two games of non-conference play, including a season-high 22 points at Marquette. Harris had a career night against Toledo with a new high 34 points in the win, going 6-of-10 from three-point range. Harris had 21 of his points in the first half, while also adding seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals.
Monumental Wins Highlight Non-Conference Season
The Bulls opened their road schedule with one of the best wins in school history as they defeated West Virginia on Nov. 9 in the first road of the year, 99-94, in overtime. It was UB's first ever road win over a team in the top 25 as the Mountaineers entered the game ranked 13th. Over the last four years, Buffalo is the only non-Big 12 team to come into Morgantown and leave with a win over West Virginia while they have been ranked in the Top 25. Dating back to 2011-12, the only other unranked non-conference opponent to go into Morgantown and leave with a win while West Virginia was ranked was LSU as they came away with a 74-73 win on Dec. 4, 2014. Also dating back to 2011-12, no opponent has scored more points against West Virginia than the 99 scored by UB.
Buffalo added to their early season resume with their 71-59 win over Syracuse on Dec. 18. The 12-point win for the Bulls was the largest margin of victory against Syracuse by a non Power-5 team since Navy did so during the 1986 NCAA Tournament. For the Bulls, it was their first ever in the Carrier Dome, which wasn't built until 1980, and their first win over the Orange since 1963.
The Bulls also have an in-season tournament title to their credit as they won the Belfast Hall of Fame Classic with wins over Milwaukee and San Francisco. To date, Buffalo is the only loss for San Francisco as the Dons are 12-2 on the season, including a win over PAC-12 member, California.
One of the most improved players in the entire Mid-American Conference last season was junior point guard Davonta Jordan. After averaging under 3.0 points per game during his freshman season, Jordan averaged 6.5 points per game last year as a sophomore, while adding 144 assists, the most on the team. Through two years, Jordan is the only player in the Mid-American Conference to record 200 career assists over his freshman and sophomore seasons. He is currently UB's active career leader in assists with 274.
Jordan picked up his scoring last year, including his first career 20-point performance, which came in a win at Delaware. Defensively, Jordan was selected to the All-MAC Defensive Team as well. Jordan had 16 points in the win over Dartmouth on 8-of-12 shooting, while also adding four assists in the win. He recorded a season high seven assists against St. Bonaventure.
Jordan leads the Bulls with 15 charges drawn this season, taking four in the win over Southern Illinois. He also had 11 points in the game, all in the second half. Jordan added 10 points in the win over Syracuse, including knocking down a pair of second half three pointers. He stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, eight rebounds, and seven assists against Marquette.
UB's senior guard Dontay Caruthers is one of the top defenders in the Mid-American Conference as he was named the 2016-17 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, but last season, Caruthers played in just 25 games, missing 11 with a leg injury. When playing, Caruthers averaged 6.7 points per game, including a pair of 20-point performances.
Caruthers has given the Bulls a huge lift this season on both sides of the ball, capped off by his 20-point performance against Le Moyne where he was 7-of-8 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Caruthers had his second 20-point game of the year at Marquette, going 7-of-11 from the field. Caruthers earned a spot on Sportscenter Top 10 plays following his postarizing dunk at Canisius right over Malik Johnson. He also had a game-high six assists in the win over the Golden Griffins.
Sophomore Jayvon Graves is averaging 9.9 points per game through the first 15 contests, which is fourth on the team. He scored 14 points in the win over West Virginia, including a few monster dunks right over the Big 12 caliber foes while tying his career high against Dartmouth with 16 points, making his first appearance on Sportscenter's Top 10 plays this season. He added 16 more points in the win over Marist, tying his career high with four three pointers. Graves recorded a new career high with 19 points in the win over St. Bonaventure, knocking down a new career best five three-pointers. He had 10 points on his birthday at Canisius. Graves had the first double-double of his career in the win over Toledo, as he finished with 13 points and career-high 12 rebounds, including nine of those on the defensive end.
The Real McRae
Senior Montell McRae is averaging 6.3 points per game, coming off a career high 18 points in the MAC opener against Eastern Michigan. McRae had a stretch in the first half where he scored 12 straight points, including back-to-back three pointers, which gave the Bulls the lead for good. McRae is 15-of-32 from three-point range this season and overall he is shooting 61.5% from the field. He is actually 17-of-20 from inside the arc (85%).