Nov 08, 2018
Buffalo (1-0) at West Virginia (0-0)
November 9, 2018
WVU Coliseum - 9:00 pm
Bulls on the Air
Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App
Television - ESPNU
• The University at Buffalo men's basketball team will begin a tough two-game road trip on Friday night when they head down to Morgantown, WV to face the West Virginia Mountaineers. This will be the first meeting between the two teams since they met in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, UB's first ever appearance in the Big Dance. West Virginia is one of just two teams currently in the Big 12 that Buffalo has faced as they played Iowa State during Nate Oats' first season.
• The Bulls blocked 11 shots on Tuesday against St. Francis, which was tied for sixth most in school history. The 11 blocks were the second most by a team in the nation on opening night in the NCAA, and the most for a team that played a D-I opponent.
• For the first time in school history, the Bulls received votes in the preseason AP Poll as UB received 14 votes, good for a tie for 37th in the nation. Buffalo is one of just 10 schools nationally receiving AP votes in men's and women's basketball and football.
• Buffalo was the unanimous pick to win the MAC East in the preseason poll, receiving all 35 votes from the league's coaches and media members. Only two other conferences had unanimous preseason selections: MAAC (Rider) and Sun Belt (Georgia State).
• Friday night marks the regular season opener for the West Virginia Mountaineers who are currently ranked 13th in the nation in both the preseason AP and USA Today Coaches Poll. WVU went 26-11 last season and 11-7 in Big 12 play, falling in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament to Villanova. West Virginia lost their top two scorers from last season in Jevon Carter and Dexter Miles Jr.
• While this will be West Virginia's first official game of the season, the Mountaineers played in a charity exhibition against postseason NIT champion Penn State where the Nittany Lions came away with an 84-82 win. Esa Ahmad led West Virginia with 25 points, while Sagaba Konate added 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. West Virginia trailed 43-31 at the half, but outscored Penn State 51-41 over the final 20 minutes.
• West Virginia was picked to finish in fifth place in the preseason Big 12 poll, receiving 61 votes, just ahead of TCU and Texas. For the eighth straight season, Kansas was picked to win the league receiving 80 points and eight first place votes, while Kansas State was picked to finish second.
• Bob Huggins has directed his alma mater to 255 victories, the 2010 NCAA Final Four, the 2010 Big East Championship and 10 postseason appearances, including nine NCAA Tournaments (five NCAA Sweet 16s), during his 11 seasons in Morgantown. Huggins, a 1977 graduate of West Virginia University, was introduced as WVU's 21st men's basketball coach on Good Friday, April 6, 2007. Huggins has compiled a 845-341 (.713) record in 36 seasons as a head coach, which includes stints at Walsh College (1980-83), Akron (1984-1989), Cincinnati (1989-2005), Kansas State (2006-07) and West Virginia (2007-present). He ranks third in total victories among active Division I head coaches and has the seventh-most wins in college basketball history among Division I head coaches.
Bulls Battle Mountaineers On ESPNU
The Bulls will hit the road for the first time this season as they head to Morgantown, WV to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers. West Virginia leads the all-time series 2-1 as UB is looking for their first win over West Virginia since the 1917-18 season, a 41-23 victory. This will be Buffalo's first trip to Morgantown since Dec. 11, 1991, a game West Virginia won, 91-46.
This is the first of at least eight nationally televised games for the Bulls prior to the full MAC television schedule being released. In non-conference games alone, the Bulls will also appear on ESPN2 (Syracuse), Fox Sports 1 (Marquette), and CBS Sports Network (Belfast Hall of Fame Classic).
Bulls Unanimous Selection To Win MAC East
For the second straight season, the Bulls have been the preseason pick to win the MAC East Division and this season the Bulls were a unanimous selection, getting all 35 first place votes and 210 point. They are the first MAC program since Ball State in 2002 to receive over 200 points. Buffalo also received 25 of the 35 votes to win the MAC Tournament.
Buffalo had three selections on the preseason All-MAC East Team in CJ Massinburg, Nick Perkins, and Jeremy Harris. UB is the first MAC program ever to have three players on the preseason all-league team. All three players were also named preseason All-Big 4 First Team players with Massinburg the preseason selection as the Big 4 Player of the Year.
I Love The 80's
Last season the Bulls averaged 84.6 points per game, the highest scoring total in school history for a single season. UB scored 80 points in 26 of its 36 games last season, which was tied for the second most 80-point performances with Duke. Villanova was the only team in the country with more 80-point performances at 29.
No other MAC team had more than 16 80-point games last season and that was Central Michigan and Toledo. As for MAC East programs, Buffalo's 26 performances are more than double any team in the division as Ohio was second with 12 80-point games.
Buffalo continued right where it left off in the season opener, scoring 82 points in the win over St. Francis, the 55th time in 104 games as UB head coach that a Nate Oats teams has scored 80 or more points. The Bulls are 47-8 in those games when scoring at least 80 points.
History On The Horizon
The Bulls are looking to accomplish something this season that has never been done in Mid-American Conference history as no MAC school has ever won four conference tournament titles in a five-year period. Buffalo became the first MAC school to win three in a four-year period since Kent State did it in 1999, 2001, 2002. The MAC Tournament dates back to the 1979-80 season.
Senior CJ Massinburg begins his senior season within striking distance of becoming UB's all-time leading scorer. Massinburg currently has 1,365 career points, which is ninth in school history and he is just 20 points shy of passing Louis Campbell (1998-02) for eighth place. With a strong senior season, Massinburg could surpass the 2,000-point mark and become Buffalo's all-time leading scorer.
Massinburg had 1,354 points, 542 rebounds and 214 assists though three seasons. He one of just four players nationally with at least 1,300 career points, 500 career rebounds, and 200 career assists joining Ethan Happ (Wisconsin), John Konchar (Fort Wayne), and Quinndary Weatherspoon (Mississippi State). Massinburg has played in the fewest amount of games of that group at 95.
Perks And Recreation
Senior Nick Perkins begins his senior season 14th on UB's all-time scoring list with 1,261 points, just 19 shy of Rick Coleman (1987-91) for 13th place. Perkins was named first-team All-MAC last season and he was named the MAC's Sixth Man of the Year for the second straight season. Perkins scored in double figures in 25 straight games last year after returning to the bench. Over the previous two years, Perkins has scored 20 points or more nine times as a reserve, the sixth highest totally nationally.
Perkins was Buffalo's leading scorer in MAC games last season as he averaged 18.2 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per contest. Perkins shot 53.2% from the floor and on two-point attempts only, his field goal percentage was 60%.
The Harris Poll
Senior Jeremy Harris had a breakout year for the Bulls last season in his first season with the Blue and White. Harris was a second-team All-MAC selection as he averaged 15.5 points per game, including 17.4 points per contest in league games only. Over the 18-game MAC season, Harris led the league in three-point shooting at .463. Harris was one of just 11 players in the nation to shoot over 46% from three in conference games, while attempting over 100 three-pointers. He joins Pat Andree from Lehigh as the only two to do it, while also pulling in over 100 rebounds.
Harris was named to the All-Tournament team at the MAC Tournament after he finished with a career high 27 points in the quarterfinals against Central Michigan. One game later, Harris added 22 points against Kent State in the semifinals, going 5-of-6 from three-point range. He scored 23 points in UB"s NCAA Tournament First Round victory over Arizona, while adding seven rebounds.
One of the most improved players in the entire Mid-American Conference last season was junior point guard Davonta Jordan. After averaging under 3.0 points per game during his freshman season, Jordan averaged 6.5 points per game last year as a sophomore, while adding 144 assists, the most on the team. Through two years, Jordan is the only player in the Mid-American Conference to record 200 career assists over his freshman and sophomore seasons. He is currently UB's active career leader in assists with 229.
Jordan picked up his scoring last year, including his first career 20-point performance, which came in a win at Delaware. Defensively, Jordan was selected to the All-MAC Defensive Team as well. He continued to show his improvements in the season opener as he filled up the stat sheet with eight points, five assists, three steals, and three-blocked shots, which tied a career-high.
When healthy, UB's senior guard Dontay Caruthers is one of the top defenders in the Mid-American Conference. Caruthers was named the 2016-17 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, but last season, Caruthers played in just 25 games, missing 11 with a leg injury. When playing, Caruthers averaged 6.7 points per game, including a pair of 20-point performances.
Caruthers scored 23 points and had seven rebounds in Buffalo's win over UAB in the Cayman Islands and he followed that up stateside with 23 points at Niagara. Overall, Caruthers shot .598 from the floor, which was the best of any player on the Bulls that took over 100 shots.
He had a solid postseason for the Bulls, beginning with a career-high eight assists in the MAC quarterfinals win over Central Michigan. He had 11 points in the semifinal win over Kent State and he added seven points and three steals in UB's NCAA Second Round game against Kentucky.
Sophomore Jayvon Graves will look to take the jump from freshman to sophomore season that his teammate Davonta Jordan took last year. Graves played in all 36 games for the Bulls last year off the bench, averaging 5.1 points per game. Graves had a season-high 16 points in a win at Ball State last year, while adding 11 points in his homecoming game at Akron.
One of the most athletic players on the team, Graves showed off his leaping ability at Bulls Madness, winning the Slam Dunk competition. He showed off that athleticism on the defensive end as well last year, leading the Bulls with 29 blocked shots, becoming the shortest UB player to lead his team in blocks since Calvin Betts in 2008-09.
The Real McRae
Senior Montell McRae averaged 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in his first season with the Bulls after transferring in from South Plains Junior College. McRae played in all 36 games for UB and started five contests early. He had three games where he scored in double figures in points, including a conference road win at Akron, where he finished with 11. He scored nine points on three made three-pointers at Texas A&M last year, keeping the Bulls close against their SEC foe.
Brock and Roll
After redshirting as a freshman, sophomore Brock Bertram made his debut on the court last year, averaging 1.1 points per game 1.1 rebounds per contest as he saw action in 18 contests, picking up one start. He scored a season-high five points in the regular season finale against Bowling Green.
A high school standout in Apple Valley, MN, Bertram was a finalist for Mr. Basketball in the state of Minnesota as his high school program went 118-7 during his career at Apple Valley High School.
Williams To Show He's Prolific
Fans will get their first chance to watch highly-touted freshman Jeenathan Williams, who will play his first season for the Bulls this year. A Rochester, NY native, Williams spent his senior season at Prolific Prep in Napa Valley, CA where he averaged 15.8 points per game.
Williams has been listed by Rivals.com as the 83rd best recruit in the country and ESPN.com listed him as the sixth best player in the state of New York. Williams had seven points, five rebounds, and two blocked shots in his collegiate debut against St. Francis.
Ball On A String
One of the other highly-touted newcomers on this year's team is freshman Ronaldo "Rondo" Segu. A native of Orlando, FL, Segu won a 3A State Title his senior season with Orlando Christian Prep, scoring 11 points in the title game. Segu played his prep ball with current North Carolina freshman Nassir Little, who many have pegged as a possible #1 overall NBA draft pick next season.
Segu was listed as the 44th best point guard in the nation by Rivals.com this past season. He is a social media star, that has over 108,000 followers on Instagram.
Sophomore transfer Tra'Von Fagan is UB's first player from the state of Iowa as he comes to the Bulls by way of Florida Southwestern State College. Fagan averaged 9.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in his freshman season of junior college, helping them to a 30-3 record. Fagan was named to the All-Tournament team at the NJCAA National Tournament.
The Waterloo, IA native played at Cedar Falls High School where he averaged 19.0 points and 8.8 rebounds per game as a senior, earning first-team All-State honors.