Bulls Look To Lock Up #1 Seed Tuesday Night In Home Finale Against Akron

Bulls Look To Lock Up #1 Seed Tuesday Night In Home Finale Against Akron

Buffalo (21-8, 13-3 MAC) vs. Akron (12-16, 5-11 MAC)
February 27, 2018

Alumni Arena
 - 7:00 pm

Bulls on the Air

Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App

Television - ESPN3/WatchESPN App

*PLEASE NOTE SENIOR DAY FESTIVITIES WILL TAKE PLACE AFTER THE GAME

Quick Hits

• The Bulls close out the home portion of their schedule on Tuesday night when they host Akron at Alumni Arena.  With a victory UB will lock up the #1 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament for the first time in school history.  A win, paired with a Toledo loss, would give UB the outright MAC Regular Season Title.  The #1 seed would also secure an automatic bid into the NIT.
• UB will honor its senior class on Tuesday night.  The Bulls will honor walk-on Gabe Agorioge, senior Wes Clark, and junior Ikenna Smart, who is a senior academically. The Bulls will also honor team manager Wesley Scheier.
• The Bulls tied their program record for MAC victories on Saturday afternoon as they won their 13th MAC game.  The Bulls are looking for a school-record 14th MAC win.  With a victory on Tuesday night, UB will also tie the school record for home victories with 14 that was set in 1964-65 in Clark Hall.  UB has never won 14 games in a season in Alumni Arena. The UB men and women are a combined 24-1 at Alumni this year, one of just two schools in the nation to have one or fewer losses at home, joining Mississippi State.
• Buffalo scored 108 points against Ohio on Saturday afternoon, its most ever in a MAC game.  It was the third time this year that UB has scored over 100 points, its most since 1997-98.  The school record for 100-point games in a season is five, which was set in 1964-65.
• Akron leads the all-time series 33-27, but the Bulls claimed the last meeting between the two schools, 87-65, back on January 9 in Akron.  UB held Akron to just 17 first-half points as the Zips had just one point from its starting five in the opening half.
• Buffalo is looking to sweep the regular season series from Akron for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
• For the first time as a Division I program dating back to 1991-92, the Bulls have shot 50% or better in eight straight games, including every game in February.  UB is averaging 89.4 points during those eight games, shooting 265-for-502 from the floor, good for 52.8%.

The Opponent

• Akron enters Tuesday night's game with a 12-16 record and a 5-11 mark in league play following a 64-62 overtime loss against Miami on Saturday afternoon.  Following their first loss to Buffalo, Akron went on to win three of their next four games.  The Zips enter the final weekend looking to build momentum for the MAC Tournament.
 
• Akron has three players averaging in double figures led by Daniel Utomi, who is averaging 16.3 points per game. Graduate transfer Malcolm Duvivier is averaging 14.6 points per contest, while Jimond Ivey is averaging 13.6 points and leads Akron with 102 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game.
 
• Buffalo held Akron to just 17 points in the first half during the first meeting between the two schools. Freshman Virshon Cotton led Akron in scoring with 23 points off the bench.  Jimon Ivey was the only other Akron player in double figures with 16 points.
 
• John Groce returned to the MAC this season as he is in his first year as head coach at Akron. Leading his teams to 19 postseason appearances, including two Mid-American Conference championships and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance, Groce becomes the 22nd head coach of Akron men's basketball. Prior to joining the Zips, Groce was head men's basketball coach at the University of Illinois for five seasons. He led the Illini to an average of 19 wins per season. He arrived at Illinois after four seasons as head coach at Ohio University, where he led the Bobcats to an 85-56 overall record as well as Mid-American Conference Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2012.
 
Top Seed In Sight With Two Games To Go
Buffalo enters the final two regular season games with the best record in the league at 13-3.  With the win over Bowling Green last Friday, the Bulls clinched the MAC East Division Championship and became the first MAC team to earn a bye to the MAC Tournament Quarterfinals in Cleveland. Since then, Toledo has also secured a bye. UB has now won two outright Division Titles in 2013-14 and 2017-18 and they tied for the Division Title in 2008-09 and 2014-15.
 
UB is looking to clinch the #1 seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament for the first time ever and they can do so as early as Tuesday night with a win over Akron or a Toledo loss to Northern Illinois.  If the Bulls win and Toledo loses, UB will clinch the outright regular season crown for the first time ever. The #1 seed secures an automatic invite to the NIT as a postseason backup. The Bulls currently hold a one-game lead over Toledo, as both teams won this past weekend.  UB holds the tiebreaker over the Toledo Rockets due to their win in the MAC season opener at Alumni Arena, 104-94.
 
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.
 
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.  UB set a new record for points in a MAC game on Saturday afternoon in Buffalo's 108-82 win over Ohio.  It was the most points allowed by the Bobcats in a regular season game since 2010.  Buffalo has the two highest scoring outputs during MAC in regulation games.  The only higher scoring performance was 111 points by Ball State in a game that went to double overtime. 
 
Mr. 1000
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.
 
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. Massinburg had 24 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists in the win over Bowling Green.  Massinburg scored 15 points in the win over Ohio as he moved into 13th place on UB's all-time scoring list surpassing Rodney Pierce.  Massinburg now has 1,236 career points and next up on the all-time scoring list is Rick Coleman, who played from 1987-91.  He is in 12th place with 1,280 career 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. Perkins averaged 24.0 points in two games against NIU this season as he added 22 in DeKalb. He currently leads UB in scoring in MAC play at 18.3 per game, which is fourth in the league. Perkins has scored in double figures in 19 straight games, all coming off the bench, including 21 in the most recent outing against Ohio in just 23 minutes of action.
 
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 at Western Michigan and was impressive finishing with 17 points and nine assists. Clark had his second nine-assist game against the Broncos on Feb. 2, while adding 13 points. Clark added 21 points against Northern Illinois and 19 more against Kent State. Clark had his first double-double in a UB uniform with 12 points and a career-high 11 assists in the win over Ohio. He now has 896 points and 322 assists in his career spanning Missouri and Buffalo.
 
Deuces Wild
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 a four-game stretch he had 20 or more points. He had a career high 24 points against Kent State on Feb. 13. He added 19 point against Bowling Green as he was named the MAC East Player of the Week for the third time this season. He is shooting 54.7% from the floor and 47.4% from three in MAC play, hitting 46-of-97 from behind the arc.  He is fifth 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 had 12 made three pointers in the win over Bowling Green, setting a new school record for triples made in a season, besting the old mark set during the 2015-16 season. UB currently has 284 threes on the year.   
 
Sophomore Sensation
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 7.7 points per game.  Through 29 games, Jordan has 223 points, shattering the 76 he scored all of last year.  He has 19 three-pointers, 17 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.  Jordan also leads the Bulls in assists with 124, which is fifth in the league.  He is UB's active leader in career assists.
 
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 58-38 as head coach for the Bulls.