Dec 14, 2017
Buffalo (6-3, 0-0 MAC) vs. Robert Morris (6-4, 0-0 NEC)
December 16, 2017
Alumni Arena - 2:00 pm
Bulls on the Air
Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App
Television - ESPN3
• The Bulls look for their third straight win on Saturday afternoon when UB hosts Robert Morris at Alumni Arena. Buffalo has yet to win three straight games this season. Robert Morris is also looking to win its third straight and for its seventh win in its last eight contests.
• Saturday's game will mark the fourth time in the last five years that the Bulls and Colonials have met on the hardwood. The last game in Buffalo was back in the 2013-14 season when Buffalo won 81-66 on Nov. 26, 2013. UB then picked up a road win in the series, 74-59, on Dec. 7, 2014 before RMU won last year's contest at PPG Paints Arena. They met for the first time ever during the 2003-04 season.
• UB head coach Nate Oats recorded his 43rd career win on Saturday afternoon, surpassing his predecessor Bobby Hurley for eighth place all-time on the UB wins list.
• It will be a reunion of sorts for UB freshman Jayvon Graves, who played high school basketball at St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron with Robert Morris freshman guard Jon Williams and his brother junior Josh Williams, who is sitting out this season after transferring from Akron.
• Buffalo joins a Mid-American Conference that has seen a lot of success over the non-conference schedule. All 12 teams in the league enter Saturday's competition at .500 or better. The MAC joins the ACC, Big 12, and the Big East as the only four leagues with all their programs at .500 or better.
• Buffalo has added redshirt freshman quarterback Dominic Johnson to their team following the completion of the UB football season. Johnson, who was two-sport athlete at Catholic Central in Windsor, Ontario, made his debut last week against Central Penn, where he finished with two points.
• Following today's action, UB will head on the road for their toughest trip of the year with games at Syracuse and nationally-ranked Texas A&M.
• Robert Morris is 6-4 on the season and has won six of their last seven contests entering Saturday's game. The Colonials most recently defeated Drexel, 74-60, this past Sunday. After beginning the season will tough road losses at Ohio State, Grand Canyon, and Sand Diego, RMU has lost just once since Nov. 19, which was a 76-74 setback at Siena.
• Dachon Burke leads RMU in scoring, averaging 17.3 points per game, while he also averages 6.4 rebounds, which is second on the team. Koby Thomas is averaging 14.5 points, while Matty McConnell is averaging 10.0 points per game.
• Robert Morris was picked to finish seventh in the preseason poll for the NEC, but they are currently second in the league with their 6-4 record. Saint Francis was picked to win the league. As a team, the Colonials currently lead the NEC in turnover margin.
• Andrew Toole is in his eighth season as head coach at Robert Morris and his 10th overall after serving on the coaching staff under Mike Rice. During Toole's seven seasons as head coach at RMU, the Colonials have claimed two NEC regular-season championships (2013, 2014), appeared in four NEC Tournament championship games (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015) and have made four national postseason appearances. Prior to coming to Robert Morris in 2007, Toole spent the 2006-07 season as an assistant at Lafayette College. Toole was a four-year starter at the Division I level, playing for Elon University (1998-2000) before transferring to the University of Pennsylvania (2000-03).
Through nine games, the Bulls have already had eight different players score in double figures in a game, led by junior CJ Massinburg. Last season, the Bulls had 10 different players score in double figures all season. One of the players not on the list last season was Davonta Jordan, who has already done it five times this year.
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.
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 Niagara and 21 points against St. Bonaventure and he has 134 points over the first seven games. Massinburg was named the MAC East Player of the Week following those games against the Big 4, earning that honor for the first time in his career.
Massinburg had his second career 30-point game on Dec. 6 at Delaware as he finished with 30 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Massinburg has five 20-point games so far this year. Massinbrug also went over the 900-point mark for his career against Delaware.
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 on Wednesday night at Delaware. Jordan averaged just 2.5 points per game last year, but this season he is averaging 10.9 points per game. Through the first nine games, Jordan has 93 points, already surpassing the 76 he scored all of last year. He has nine three-pointers, seven more than last year. On the glass, he averaged 1.8 rebounds last season and this year he is averaging 3.3.
Jordan is currently 12th in the league in assists at 3.6 points per game and 11th in the league in field goal percentage at .549.
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.
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.
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. He scored a new career high with 13 points against Central Penn.
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.
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.
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)