Bulls Look For Big 4 Sweep Saturday Against St. Bonaventure

Bulls Look For Big 4 Sweep Saturday Against St. Bonaventure

Buffalo (4-2, 0-0 MAC) vs. St. Bonaventure (4-2, 0-0 A-10)
December 2, 2017

Alumni Arena
 - 2:00 pm

Presented by Balanced Body Foods


Bulls on the Air

Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App

Television - ESPN3

Quick Hits

• Buffalo will look to go 3-0 in the Big 4 for the first time ever on Saturday when the Bulls host St. Bonaventure at Alumni Arena.  UB already has two victories against Big 4 opponents as they defeated Canisius 80-75 in the season opener and then followed that up with a 106-87 win at Niagara on Wednesday night.
• Despite being a series that started back in 1915-16, this will be just the 14th meeting between these schools with St. Bonaventure holding a 9-3 edge.  UB's first win in the series came during the 1915-16 season before St. Bonaventure achieved varsity status.  Buffalo last beat St. Bonaventure during the 2013-14 season.
• The Bulls tied a school record for points scored in a road contest on Wednesday against Niagara as UB put 106 points on the board against the Purple Eagles.  It ties the school record set on March 2, 1974 at Rochester.
 • For the first time in its Division-I history, the Bulls had three different players score over 20 points in the same game during the 106-87 win over Niagara.  Junior CJ Massinburg had a team-high 25 points, while juniors Dontay Caruthers and Jeremy Harris each finished with a career-high 23 points.
• The Bulls recorded 26 assists in the win over Niagara, its highest total since 2012 when they had 26 against Notre Dame College.  The last time UB had 26 or more assists against a D-I team was on March 4, 2007 when they had 28 against Ohio.
• The Bulls got 95 points from their starting five in Wednesday night's win at Niagara.  While CJ Massinburg, Jeremy Harris, and Dontay Caruthers combined for 71 points, the Bulls also got 16 points from junior Nick Perkins and eight points from sophomore Davonta Jordan.
• Saturday's game will begin a stretch of three of the next four games at Alumni Arena.

The Opponent

• St. Bonaventure enters Saturday's game with a 4-2 record following a 75-55 win at Siena on Wednesday night.  The Bonnies lost their season opener to Niagara, but have responded by winning four of their last five games, including a 63-61 win over Maryland.  St. Bonaventure's only other loss came against TCU.
 
• The Bonnies are led by Matt Mobley who is averaging 21.8 points per game and he also has a team-high 26 assists.  Courtney Stockard is averaging 11.0 points in the four games he has played in off the bench and LaDarien Griffin is averaging 10.8 points and a team-high 7.0 rebounds per game.  The Bonnies are allowing just 64.7 points per game this year.
 
• The Bonnies have played the first six games of the season without Jaylen Adams, their two-time first-team All-League selection, who has been named to three separate National Player of the Year watch lists.  Adams scored 29 points in last year's meeting against the Bulls.
 
•  Mark Schmidt is in his 11th year as the head coach at St. Bonaventure. He now stands second on St. Bonaventure's all-time coaching wins list with 166, trailing only Larry Weise. Schmidt served as the head coach at Robert Morris for six seasons prior to coming to St. Bonaventure. Schmidt quickly turned things around, leading the Colonials to the Northeast Conference Tournament semifinals in 2004 and 2006.  Prior to Robert Morris, Schmidt spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Xavier University under head coach Skip Prosser.
 
UB Looks For Big 4 Supremacy
With the Bulls set to host St. Bonaventure on Saturday afternoon, Buffalo is looking to do something it has never done in school history and that is sweep all three Big 4 teams in the same season.  UB has already knocked off Canisius in the season opener, and is now coming off a 106-87 win over Niagara on Wednesday night.
 
The first time that UB played all three in the same season was its first season of 1915-16, but then Buffalo did not play all three Big 4 schools again in the same year until 1995-96.  The Bulls are looking for just their fourth ever win over St. Bonaventure.
 
Giving 100%
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.
 
Since Nate Oats took over as head coach in 2015-16, the Bulls have eclipsed the 100-point mark three times.  They scored 109 points in his first ever game against Pitt-Bradford and then  the Bulls scored 101 last year against Central Michigan.  In program history, the Bulls have only lost three games total when scoring over 100 points, two of those being overtime contests.
 
Dynamic Duo
Two of the most impressive players for the Bulls during this early season have been guards Dontay Caruthers and Davonta Jordan.  Caruthers, who was the MAC Defensive Player of the Year last season, recorded his first 20-point game of his UB career with 22 points a 96-91 over time win over UAB.  Caruthers went 8-for-11 from the floor and 4-for-5 from three-point range in the game.  Caruthers had a career-high 23 points at Niagara as he went 10-for-11 from the floor.  He currently leads the MAC in field goal percentage at .744 and 3-pt field goal percentage at .600.
 
Jordan has been one of the more impressive Bulls during the first six games of the season and he is tied for seventh in 3-point field goal percentage and ninth in field goal percentage at .553.  Jordan already has six more three pointers than he hit all of last season and his 64 points through six games are just 12 short of his season total from last year.
 
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.
 
Mass Production
After getting off to a slow start against Canisius, junior CJ Massinburg was the best player on the court for the Bulls in the win over Jacksonville St.  He led the Bulls in all three major categories as he finished with 25 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.  Massinburg scored 29 points against nationally-ranked Cincinnati, his second highest scoring total of his career, while adding 10 rebounds, the first double-digit rebounding performance of the season for UB.  Massinburg was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Cayman Classic.  Massinburg added 25 points in the win over Canisius and he has 113 points over the first six games.  He is currently third in the MAC in scoring, averaging 18.8 points per game.
 
Massinburg missed much of preseason practice with a knee injury and did not play in the exhibition against Rhode Island. 
 
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 is currently just one win away from tying his predecessor in career wins at UB as Oats has 41 through his first  73 games as head coach.
 
Deuces Wild
One the most of anticipated newcomers will wear #2 on the Buffalo team 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 had17 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 is a dynamic shooter as shown by his one performance last year where he had 10 three-pointers in a game.  He is a seasoned veteran, who has played basketball at  all levels, beginning with high school, before moving on to prep school for a year at Fishburne Military School.  He then played two years and junior college before making his way to UB.
 
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
 
McRae was part of a South Plains team ranked first nationally for much of the season as they went 32-2 last year.
 
Reese Lightning
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 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.
 
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.
 
Bulls Picked To Win MAC East
The University at Buffalo men's basketball team has been picked to win the Mid-American Conference East Division and received nine tournament championship votes, second most in the league, it was announced by the league office in their annual preseason poll voted on by a panel of all 12 MAC head coaches and 18 media members.
 
The Bulls, who are led by third-year head coach Nate Oats, received 166 points and 24 of the 30 first place votes in the East Division to finish atop the preseason poll.  This is the second time that Buffalo has been picked as the preseason winner of the MAC East and the first time since prior to the 2004-05 season.  Buffalo also received nine votes to win the 2018 MAC Tournament Championship, just one behind Western Michigan.
 
Perkins and Massinburg Earn Preseason Nod
Juniors Nick Perkins and  CJ Massinburg were two of the five players named to the preseason All-MAC East Division squad.
 
Massinburg was named All-MAC Honorable Mention last year as he averaged 14.5 points and 5.6 rebounds a year ago.  He is Buffalo's returning leading scorer and despite missing eight games during non-conference play last year, he is in striking distance of 1,000 career points in just his third season with the team.  Massinburg had many key performances last season, including scoring the final six points, breaking a 93-93 tie and earning a road victory at Central Michigan.  He also hit the last two free throws to seal a road victory at Ohio.
 
Perkins was named the MAC's Sixth Man of the Year last year, just the second player in school history to earn that honor.  Perkins averaged 12.4 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds last year as he came off the bench in 14 of 32 games, including 14 of the last 15 games of the year.  Known for his 20 points in the NCAA Tournament against Miami as a freshman, Perkins has always played some of his best games against top competition.  He had 23 points last year at Pitt and a career-best 24 points at St. Bonaventure.  He also had 21-point games against Western Michigan and Ball State.
 
Caruthers Named MAC Defensive Player Of The Year
Junior Dontay Caruthers became the first players in school history to be named MAC Defensive Player of the year last season.
 
He started 18 games during the season, averaging 5.9 points in conference games.  He also led the MAC with 37 steals in league play and had 58 for the year, finishing just outside the top 10 in school history for single-season steals. He had a then career-high 18 points in a road victory at Bowling Green last year, beginning a stretch of three straight games in double figures.
 
Bulls Unveil Highly Touted Recruiting Class
Third-year head men's basketball coach Nate Oats has announced his signing class for the 2018-19 season, which includes three highly touted recruits.  National scouting services have the Buffalo class amongst the top 60 nationally, making it the highest rated class in school history. Included in the class are a pair of ESPN four-star rated recruits and a junior college transfer:
 
Jeenathan Williams (6-7, SF, Rochester, NY/Prolific Prep)
Ronaldo "Rondo" Segu (6-0, PG, Orlando, FL/Orlando Christian Prep)
Javion Hamlet (6-3, PG, Memphis, TN/Motlow State College)