Feb 15, 2018
Buffalo (19-7, 11-2 MAC) vs. Bowling Green (16-10, 7-6 MAC)
February 16, 2018
Alumni Arena - 7:00 pm
Bulls on the Air
Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App
Television - ESPNU/WatchESPN App
• It is an important night for Buffalo as the Bulls host Bowling Green on Friday night. With a win, the Bulls will clinch an outright MAC East Division title for just the second time in school history. A win would also clinch a Top 4 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament and a bye straight to Cleveland.
• The Bulls enter Friday night's game with 19 wins, looking for just the seventh 20-win season in school history and the third in the last four years. With a victory, the Bulls will achieve 20 wins in 27 games, which would be the fastest in school history, surpassing the 2004-05 team, which did it in 28 games.
• Bowling Green leads the all-time series 18-17, but the Bulls have won the last seven meetings between the two squads. The Falcons last defeated the Bulls on Feb. 2, 2014 at BG. Buffalo has won the last six meetings at Alumni Arena as the Falcons have not won in Buffalo since January 8, 2011, a game that went into double overtime.
• Buffalo is just 10 three-pointers shy of tying the school record for threes in a season, which was set during the 2015-16 season. Juniors Jeremy Harris and CJ Massinburg lead UB with 64 made threes on the season, while senior Wes Clark has made 31 threes in his 16 games in a UB uniform.
• Buffalo is currently 23rd in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 83.7 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 86.3 points per game in conference play and they have scored 82 or more points in 11 of 13 conference games this year.
• Buffalo has shot 50% or better from the floor in five straight games, dating back to the first meeting with Kent State on Jan. 30. In those five games, UB is shooting 163-for-307, which is 53.1% from the field. It is the first time that a UB team has shot 50% or better in five straight games since the 2003-04 season. Since joining the Division I ranks prior to the 199-92 season, no UB team has shot 50% or better in six straight games.
• Bowling Green has won four of their last five games following Tuesday night's 83-81 victory over Western Michigan. The Falcons have been hard to beat at home, winning all four of those games at the Stroh Center, while dropping their one road conference game at Ball State. The Falcons are currently just 2-4 on the road in league play.
• Bowling Green has five players averaging 9.7 points or better, led by Justin Thomas, who is averaging 15.4 points per game. Forward Demajeo Wiggins is averaging 13.8 points and a team-high 9.5 rebounds per contest. In league games, Wiggins is averaging a double-double at 15.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Dylan Frye adds 12.1 points per contest.
• Bowling Green is one of the top teams in the nation in getting to the free throw line as they are 27th nationally in free throws attempted and 23rd in free throws made.
• A 1994 graduate of Bowling Green State University, Michael Huger was named the 17th head men's basketball coach on April 17, 2015. The 2017-18 season marks Huger's third year in charge of his alma mater. Huger, who returned to BGSU, where he was a standout player for the Falcons from 1989-93, came to Bowling Green after four seasons at the University of Miami. He had spent eight total seasons as an assistant coach for head coach Jim Larrañaga, whom he played for at BGSU. Prior to following Larrañaga to Miami, Huger spent four seasons at George Mason where he helped lead the Patriots to the postseason every year. Before joining the coaching ranks, Huger played professional basketball in Europe, spending time in Finland (1992-94), two years in Holland (1994-96) and nine in Belgium (1996-2005).
Top Seed In Sight With Five Games To Go
Buffalo and Toledo are currently tied for the best record in the Mid-American Conference through 13 games at 11-2. The Bulls hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Rockets thanks to their 104-94 win over Toledo in the MAC opener on Jan. 2. It looks like that tiebreaker will be crucial as Ball State is currently three games back and all other teams are four games back or more. UB is looking to clinch the #1 seed tournament for the first time in school history, which would also secure the automatic invite to the NIT as a backup.
In the race for a division title, Buffalo holds a four-game lead in the MAC East over Bowling Green, who enters Friday night's matchup with a 7-6 record. The Falcons are the only other team in the East who is mathematically alive for the division outright, but Buffalo is just one win away from clinching the division crown outright. UB has won one outright Division Title in 2013-14 and they tied for the Division Title in 2008-09 and 2014-15.
Junior CJ Massinburg became a 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 at least 20 points 11 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 against Western Michigan and he currently has 1,192 points. Massinburg stuffed the stat sheet against Kent State, getting close to his first career triple-double with eight points, nine rebounds, and a career-high seven assists.
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. Perkins averaged 24.0 points in two games against NIU this season as he added 22 in DeKalb on Saturday. He currently leads UB in scoring in MAC play at 18.0 per game, which is fourth in the league. Perkins has scored in double figures in 16 straight games, all coming off the bench.
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 Feb. 2, while adding 13 points. He is averaging 5.8 assists per game. Clark added 21 points against Northern Illinois and 19 more against Kent State. He now has 852 points in his career spanning Missouri and Buffalo.
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 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 a four-game stretch he had 20 or more points. He is averaging 17.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in conference games following his career high 24 points against Kent State on Feb. 13. He is shooting 56.2% from the floor and 46.2% from three, hitting 34-of-72 from behind the arc. He is sixth in the MAC in scoring in league games and second in the league in three-point field goal percentage and three-pointers made 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. The Bulls are tied for the lead in the MAC with 253 made three-pointers, already second most in school history in a single season.
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 7.5 points per game. Through the first 26 games, Jordan has 194 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 56-37 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.