Feb 09, 2018
Buffalo (18-6, 10-1 MAC) at Northern Illinois (10-14, 3-8 MAC)
February 10, 2018
Convocation Center - 4:30 pm EST
Bulls on the Air
Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App
Television - ESPN3/WatchESPN App
• The Bulls will play their final regular season game against the MAC West on Saturday afternoon when UB makes the trip to Northern Illinois. Buffalo is looking to go a perfect 8-0 again the West this season with a win and will look to go for the season-sweep against the Huskies.
• Buffalo leads the all-time series against Northern Illinois, 20-13, and has won 13 straight meetings against the Huskies, their longest streak against any team in the Mid-American Conference. Buffalo has won the last five games played at the Convocation Center in DeKalb.
• Buffalo has won 12 straight games against MAC West teams dating back to last year, its longest streak against the opposite division since joining the league. UB will wrap up play against MAC West Division opponents on Saturday afternoon.
• UB's 18-6 record is its best through 24 games in over 50 years. The Bulls have not had a better winning percentage since 1964-65 when they finished the year 19-3. Between 1965-66 and 2004-05, the Bulls won 18 games all season only once.
• The Bulls have had one of the best three-point shooting seasons in school history. Through 24 games, UB has made 237 three-pointers, already third in school history for a single season. The Bulls are three away from second place and 26 away from the school record. Overall, UB is 28th in country in three-pointers made.
• Buffalo is currently 22nd in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 83.5 points per game. UB has only averaged 80.0 for an entire season once in their school history back during the 1970-71 season. The Bulls are averaging 86.4 points per game in conference play and they have scored 82 or more points in nine of 11 conference games this year.
• Over the last three games, the Bulls are 96-of-176 from the floor, shooting 54.5% as a team. Overall, the Bulls have shot 50% or better eight times this year. It's the first time this year that they have shot 50% or better in three straight games. UB did it once last season in games against Akron, Central Michigan, and Ball State.
• Northern Illinois has dropped six of the last seven games since the first meeting with Buffalo, but went head-to-head with Toledo on Tuesday night, taking the MAC West leaders to the wire before falling, 82-77. It's been a tough schedule for the Huskies, who have been on the road for five of the last seven games.
• Northern Illinois features the MAC leading scorer in Eugene German, who is averaging 19.7 points per game after his 30-point performance on Tuesday night. He is one three players averaging double figures as Levi Bradley is averaging 14.3 points and a team-high 5.4 rebounds, while Dante Thorpe adds 11.7 points per game.
• The Huskies trailed by just three at the half in the first meeting between NIU and UB before the Bulls scored 59 second-half points. Eugene German led NIU with 17 points, while Dante Thorpe added 14.
• In 24 seasons in college basketball, as a player and a head coach, Mark Montgomery has been a part of 15 postseason teams. In six seasons as head coach at NIU, Montgomery rebuilt a program that had produced just two winning seasons in the 15 years prior to his arrival and led it to just its fourth-ever postseason appearance, and the second-most wins in school history. In 2015-16, Montgomery guided NIU to 21 victories, tied for the second-most in school history, while taking the Huskies to the postseason for just the fourth time in school history, and the first time in 20 years, as NIU accepted an invitation to the Vegas 16. During his 10 seasons on Hall of Famer Tom Izzo's staff at Michigan State from 2001-12, the Spartans made 10 straight trips to the NCAA Tournament and three Final Four appearances.
How The West Was Won
Buffalo has won 12 straight games against the MAC West as it concludes a three-game stretch against teams from the opposite division. The Bulls have won all seven of their games against the West this season with wins over Toledo, Ball State, Northern Illinois,Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan and twice against Western Michigan. The Bulls will look to sweep the season series from the Huskies when it travels to DeKalb on Saturday.
The 12 wins in a row against the West is the longest streak for UB since joining the league. While the Bulls are 7-0 again the MAC West, Kent State is the only other East Division with a winning record over the West, as they are 4-3.
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 18.7 points per game. Massinburg is also UB's leading rebounder on the season, as he is averaging 8.3 boards per contest, which is fourth in the league. He has a team-high seven double-doubles on the year, including recording a career-high 14 boards at Delaware. The seven double-doubles are tied for second 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.
Following his 16-point game against Northern Illinois, Massinburg moved into 15th place on UB's all-time scoring list passing UB Hall of Famer, Harold Kuhn. Massinburg had the 11th 20-point game of his season on Friday against Western Michigan and he currently has 1,178 points.
Mr. 1000 (Part 2)
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 became the latest member of the 1,000 point club as he scored 20 points at Ohio on Jan. 26 to became the 21st player in school history to accomplish the feat.
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 11 straight games and he is averaging 19.3 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.
Perkins tied his career high with 26 points in the win over Northern Illinois and he added 18 points and nine rebounds against Western Michigan to earned MAC East Player of the Week honors for the second time this season. He currently leads UB in scoring in MAC play at 17.9 per game, which is fourth in the league.
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. Clark played his first ever college game in his home state of Michigan on Friday night at Western Michigan and was impressive finishing with 17 points and a career-high nine assists. Clark had his second nine-assist game against the Broncos on Friday night, while adding 13 points. He is averaging 5.9 assists per game.
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 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 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. Harris continued his tear through MAC play as he tied his career high with 23 points in the win over Miami, recording his second double-double as he had 10 rebounds.
Following the wins over Akron and Miami Harris was named the MAC East Player of the Week, the third straight week UB has done it with three different players. Harris tied for team-high honors with 20 points in the win at Western Michigan last Friday night, going 4-of-5 from behind the arc. Harris had one of his best all-around games on Tuesday against Eastern Michigan, finishing with 22 points and a career-best 14 rebounds, which was tied for the most by a UB play this year. He had another double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Ohio, his fourth of the year. Harris had 20 points against Kent State, the third time in the last four games hes has had 20 or more points. He is averaging 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in conference games. He is shooting 56.8% from the floor and 48.4% from three, hitting 31-of-64 from behind the arc. He leads the league in 3-pt field goal percentage and is second in three pointers made.
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. The Bulls are tied for second in three-pointers made with 237, just two behind Toledo for tops in the league.
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 7.9 points per game. Through the first 24 games, Jordan has 188 points, more than double the 76 he scored all of last year. He has 16 three-pointers, 14 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. Oats recently moved past V. William Hughes (1978-82) for seventh place on the all-time wins list and he is the fourth fastest UB head coach to 50 wins and the quickest in UB's Modern Era. Oats is currently 55-36 as head coach for the Bulls.
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.
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.
Junior Ikenna Smart made his season debut 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 had his first career double-double in his 78th career game, as he finished with 10 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in the win at Ohio