Mar 07, 2018
#1 Buffalo (23-8, 15-3 MAC) vs. #8 Central Michigan (19-13, 7-11 MAC)
March 8, 2018
Quicken Loans Arena - 12:00 pm
Bulls on the Air
Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App
Television - ESPN3/WatchESPN App
• The Bulls open the 2018 MAC Tournament on Thursday afternoon as the top seed for the first time in school history. UB will face #8 Central Michigan, who advanced to Cleveland following an overtime win on Monday night. UB and CMU last met in Cleveland in 2015 in the MAC Championship Game. Buffalo is looking to become the first #1 seed to win the conference tournament since Western Michigan in 2014.
• Buffalo finished the regular season with a 15-3 record in conference becoming the first MAC program to register 15 conference wins since Kent State in 2005-06. Going back to 1995-96, only four other MAC programs have had 15 or more wins in a conference season: 1998-99 Miami (15), 2001-02 Kent State (17), 2003-04 Western Michigan (15), and 2005-06 Kent State (15).
• Buffalo scored 80 or more points for the 24th time this season Friday night, the highest total in the nation. The Bulls are just ahead of Villanova who has done it 23 times, and Duke and South Dakota State, who have done it 22 times.
• Buffalo cleaned up in the postseason awards on Monday as five Bulls earned All-MAC honors. For the first time since 2011-12, Buffalo put two members on the All-MAC First Team with CJ Massinburg and Nick Perkins. Junior Jeremy Harris was named to All-MAC Second Team and Wes Clark named to the All-MAC Third Team. Sophomore Davonta Jordan was the third straight UB player on the All-Defensive Team.
• Buffalo won the lone regular season meeting with Central Michigan this year, 88-82 in Mt. Pleasant on Feb. 6. Jeremy Harris led the Bulls with 22 points as he was one of four players in double figures for UB.
• The winner of Thursday's game will advance to the MAC Tournament semifinals on Friday where they will play the winner of #4 Ball State and #5 Kent State. The Golden Flashes defeated UB in Cleveland last season.
• Buffalo has shot 50% or better in 10 straight games this season. UB is the only team in the nation to shoot 50% or better eight times in February.
• Central Michigan heads to Cleveland winners for three straight games, defeating Bowling Green, 81-77 in overtime in its MAC First Round Game. The Chippewas have had success on a neutral floor as they have won all four of their games, including three at the Great Alaska Shootout. Central Michigan continues to lead the nation in free throw shooting at 80.4%.
• The Chippewas have five players averaging 9.6 points or better, including four in double figures. Cecil Williams and Shawn Roundtree are each averaging 15.2 points per game, while Roundtree leads CMU with 124 assists. David DiLeo is averaging 11.9 points per game and a team-high 6.9 rebounds per contest.
• Central Michigan had four players in double figures in the first meeting in Mt. Pleasant led by 23 points and nine rebounds from Cecil Williams. Shawn Roundtree added 20 points, including going a perfect 8-of-8 from the line.
• Keno Davis is in his sixth season as head coach at Central Michigan. In 2016-17, that Davis-coached offense ranked third in the nation, averaging an explosive 88.3 points per game, triggered by the dynamic backcourt duo of Marcus Keene and Braylon Rayson, the former the nation's leading scorer. In one season at Drake and three at Providence, Davis compiled a 74-55 (.574) record and made two postseason appearance. Prior to taking over as the head coach at Drake, Davis served as an assistant under his father, Dr. Tom Davis, at Drake from 2003-07. Keno Davis began his coaching career in 1995 as an assistant for two years under Bruce Pearl at Southern Indiana. Keno and his father share the distinction of being the only father-son duo to have captured national coach of the year honors.
Bulls Head To Cleveland As Top Seed
For the first time in school history, the Bulls will be heading into the MAC Tournament as the top seed after finishing a 15-3 season, just the fifth MAC program to record 15 or more wins in season since 1995-96, joining 1998-99 Miami (15), 2001-02 Kent State (17), 2003-04 Western Michigan (15), and 2005-06 Kent State (15). The Bulls are looking to become the first #1 seed to win the MAC Tournament since Western Michigan took home the 2014 Tournament title.
UB is the only program in the league to receive a bye to the conference tournament in each of the last five seasons, winning the tournament title in 2015 and 2016. Kent State is the last team to win the tournament three times in a four-year period, winning it in 1999, 2001, and 2002.
Bulls Dominate Postseason All-MAC Teams
The Bulls dominated the postseason All-MAC teams as juniors Nick Perkins and CJ Massinburg were named to the All-MAC First Team, while junior Jeremy Harris was named to the All-MAC Second Team. Senior Wes Clark earned All-MAC Third Team honors and sophomore Davonta Jordan was named to the All-MAC Defensive Team. That group of five has combined for 71.4 points per game, which is more than 109 teams nationally.
The Bulls represented the majority of the MAC East on the first three teams. Of the 15 players selected, seven were members of the MAC East, but four of those were from Buffalo.
For the second straight year, Perkins was named the MAC Sixth Man of the Year as he was nearly a unanimous pick across the league. Head coach Nate Oats is the second UB head coach to be named the MAC Coach of the Year and the first since 2004.
I Love The 80's
Buffalo will enter the MAC Tournament leading the nation in 80-point performances this season as they have scored 80 or more points 24 times this season in 31 games. UB has one more 80-point performance than Villanova and two more than Duke amongst a few other programs.
The Bulls are currently sixth nationally in scoring offense, averaging a school-record 85.2 points per game. In MAC games only, UB averaged 88.1 points per game, the highest scoring mark in MAC play since Central Michigan averaged 88.3 points per game during the 1974-75 season.
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.
UB hit the century mark the for the fourth time this year and the second time in three games in the regular season finale at Bowling Green with a 100-70 win. The four 100-point games are the most for Buffalo since 1064-65 when it did it five times. Buffalo has the two highest scoring outputs during MAC in regulation games and they have three of the four 100-point performances in regulation by MAC school during conference play as Toledo is the only other team to score 100 in regulation during a MAC game. The four 100-point games are tied for 11th most in the nation this season.
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 helped lead the Bulls to victory in the home finale with 26 points and 10 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season. He is in 12th place with 1,281 career points. Massinburg is one of just three juniors in the nation with 1,200 career points, 500 career rebounds, and 200 career assists, joining John Konchar from IPFW and Ethan Happ from Wisconsin. Massinburg has done it in 90 games, which is the fewest amount of games of the trio. He was most recently named to the All-MAC First Team for the first time in his career.
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 20 straight games, all coming off the bench, including 21 in against Ohio in just 23 minutes of action. He added 14 points against Akron. Perkins was named first-team All-MAC for the first time in his career, while also earning the MAC Sixth Man of the Year for the second straight year. He is the first MAC player to ever win the award in back-to-back seasons.
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. Clark added 18 points and five assists in the Senior Day win over Akron and he now has 924 points and 329 assists in his career spanning Missouri and Buffalo. Despite playing just 21 games this season, Clark was named to the All-MAC Third Team.
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 54.5% from the floor and 46.3% from three in MAC play, hitting 50-of-108 from behind the arc. He is fifth in the MAC in scoring in league games, while leading the MAC in three-point field goal percentage and second in three-pointers made during conference play. Harris was named to the All-MAC Second Team during the postseason awards.
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 302 threes on the year.
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 7.4 points per game. Through 31 games, Jordan has 229 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 134, which is fifth in the league. He is UB's active leader in career assists. He was honored for his defensive prowess by the coaches in the league as he was named to the All-MAC Defensive Team.
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 60-38 as head coach for the Bulls. Oats is the second UB coach to be named MAC Coach of the Year, joining Reggie Witherspoon, who earned those honors in 2004.
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 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. Graves had 12 points in the regular season finale at Bowling Green.
Brock And Roll
Brock Bertram was a finalist for Mr. Basketball in the state of Minnesota as he averaged 15.0 points and 10 rebounds per game as his team went 32-1 during his senior year and 118-7 during his career.
Bertram had a career-high six rebounds in the win over Jacksonville State in the second game of the season, including three offensive boards. He had a career- high five points in the regular season finale at Bowling Green and will provide depth in the post during the MAC Tournament.
The Bulls recently got the services of reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year back in junior Dontay Caruthers, who missed 11 games with a leg injury. Prior to the injury, Caruthers had a pair of 23-point games in wins over UAB and Niagara.
He is currently averaging 7.1 points per game as he had 19 points against Ohio on Feb. 24, his most in a game since returning from injury.
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.
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 went a perfect 3-for-3 from behind the arc against Texas A&M on Dec. 21. Playing close to his hometown of Cleveland, McRae had a big night at Akron as he finished with 11 points and five rebounds, including four on the offensive end.
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.