Nov 29, 2018
#21/#20 Buffalo (5-0) vs. Milwaukee (2-4)
November 30, 2018
SSE Arena (Belfast, Northern Ireland) - 5:30 am EST/10:30 am GMT
Bulls on the Air
Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App
Television - BBC Northern Ireland
• For the second straight year, UB will play regular season games outside of the United States as they play two games at the Belfast Hall of Fame Classic. Last season, UB played three games in the Cayman Islands, but these will be the first regular season games in Europe for Buffalo.
• Buffalo is looking to start the season 6-0 for just the second time in school history and the first time since the 1930-31 season, when UB went 15-0, their only undefeated season in school history.
• The Bulls are ranked 21st in the latest AP Poll as they become just the third MAC program to be nationally ranked by the Associated Press since 2000 joining Kent State in 2008 and Ball State in December of 2001 where they peaked at 15th in the nation. UB bumped up five spots in the latest USA Today coaches poll, the first MAC program since Akron in 2012-13 when they were ranked #25.
• Sophomore Jayvon Graves tied his career high in scoring in each of UB's two games this past week as he had 16 points in the wins over Dartmouth and Marist. Through just five games this year, Graves already has a third of point total from last season. He is also currently second on the team with seven blocked shots and tied for second in steals.
• Buffalo currently leads the Mid-American Conference in scoring margin, defeating opponents by an average of 19.0 points per game.
• Milwaukee is 2-4 on the season, but has won two straight games after dropping their first four contests of the year. The Panthers are coming off a 79-70 win over Albany on Friday. Prior to that, Milwaukee defeated LIU-Brooklyn in overtime, 92-87.
• Milwaukee has two players averaging in double figures in points, led by Darius Roy, who is averaging 18.2 points per game and he also leads the Panthers with 29 assists. Carson Warren-Newsome is second on the team in scoring at 11.5 points per contest and he has 20 assists on the year. DeAndre Abram leads Milwaukee in rebounding as he pulls down 9.2 rebounds per contest, while also adding 9.5 points per game.
• Milwaukee was picked to finish in eighth place in the 10-member Horizon League, receiving one first place vote. Wright State was picked to win the league followed by Northern Kentucky.
• Pat Baldwin was named head coach of the Milwaukee men's basketball team on June 20, 2017. In his first season on the bench, he led the Panthers to 16 victories, an improvement of five wins over the prior season while also finishing four spots higher in the final Horizon League regular season standings. Baldwin joined Milwaukee from Northwestern University where he spent four seasons as an assistant coach at North-western, helping rebuild his alma mater into a force in the Big Ten. Baldwin, a 1994 graduate of Northwestern, was one of the top players in school history. He still stands among the top 20 scorers, was a three-time team captain, graduated as the school's all-time leader in steals and assists, and was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. A native of Leavenworth, Kansas, Baldwin got his coaching start during the 2001-02 season at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri.
Bulls Set For Two-Game Trip Across The Pond
Having moved up in the national rankings yet again, the #22/#21 Buffalo Bulls will begin their two games in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Friday morning against Milwaukee. This is the second straight season that UB will play games outside of the United States, having played last year in the Cayman Islands, but it will be their first ever regular season games in Europe.
After playing Milwaukee on Friday, the Bulls will face Either Stephen F. Austin or San Francisco on Saturday. Like Buffalo, San Francisco enters the tournament undefeated on the season. While this will be the sixth meeting all time between the Bulls and Panthers, UB has never face Stephen F. Austin or San Francisco.
UB In the National Rankings
Buffalo has become the 10th different MAC program to be ranked in the national AP poll in their history. All schools have been ranked at least once, except Akron and Central Michigan, however since 2000, only Kent State and Ball State have found their way into the national rankings. The Golden Flashes were the last program to do it, as they were ranked #23 in 2008, while Ball State spent four weeks in the polls during the 2001-02 season, peaking at #15. They also spent four weeks in the polls during the 1988-89 season, including finishing the year 18th in the country.
Three MAC programs have been in the Top 10 in their program's history as Bowling Green was seventh back during the 1961-62 season. Toledo, who has spent 22 weeks in the Top 25 in their history, was ninth in 1963-64, and Ohio has the highest ranking ever by a MAC school as they were fifth for two weeks in 1969-70.
As for Western New York programs in the Big 4, Canisius was ranked for 11 weeks during the 1956-57 season, while Niagara has spent 20 weeks in the polls, most recently in the 1969-70 season. St. Bonaventure has had the most success in the AP Poll as they have spent 82 weeks ranked over their history, ranking as high at #2 in the country. The last time they were ranked was during the 1970-71 season nearly 48 years ago.
I'm A Man, I'm 40!
Senior CJ Massinburg had a career night in the win at nationally-ranked West Virgina as he scored 43 points and 14 rebounds. His 43 points are the fifth highest total by a player in the nation this year.
Massinburg is only the second player to surpass the 40-point mark against a Bob Huggins coached team at West Virginia and he is the first to do it since Andrew Wiggins of Kansas had 41 points on March 8, 2014. He is just the 10th player in that time frame to have at least 14 rebounds in a game against West Virginia and the first to do it from the guard position.
The career performance helps move him even closer to becoming UB's all-time leading scorer. Massinburg currently has 1,436 career points, which is sixth all-time in school history as he passed Turner Battle (2001-05) in the game at Southern Illinois. Next up on the list is Yassin Idbihi (2003-2007) who is in fifth place with 1,514 points. 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 through his junior season. 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 played in the fewest amount of games of that group at 95.
Bulls Take Down Mountaineers In Morgantown
The Bulls are coming off one of their best wins in school history as they defeated West Virginia on Friday night, 99-94, in overtime. It was UB's first ever road win over a team in the top 25 as the Mountaineers entered the game ranked 13th. Over the last four years, Buffalo is the only non-Big 12 team to come into Morgantown and leave with a win over West Virginia while they have been ranked in the Top 25. Dating back to 2011-12, the only other unranked non-conference opponent to go into Morgantown and leave with a win while West Virginia was ranked was LSU as they came away with a 74-73 win on Dec. 4, 2014. Also dating back to 2011-12, no opponent has scored more points against West Virginia than the 99 scored by UB.
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 and 99 points against West Virginia. UB exploded for 110 points in the victory over Dartmouth the 57th time in 107 games as UB head coach that a Nate Oats teams has scored 80 or more points. The Bulls are 49-8 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.
Perks And Recreation
With his 22 points last week in wins over Dartmouth and Marist, senior Nick Perkins is now 12th on UB's all-time scoring list with 1,300 points, just 14 points shy of Calvin Cage (2002-06) for 11th 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. Jordan had 16 points in the win over Dartmouth on 8-of-12 shooting, while also adding four assists in the win.
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.
Caruthers has been one of the best free throw shooters in the country early on this season as he has gone 13-of-14, the second best total of the year. He picked up his first start against Dartmouth on Wednesday.
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.
Graves is averaging 12.6 points per game through the first five contests, which is second on the team. He scored 14 points in the win over West Virginia, including a few monster dunks right over the Big 12 caliber foes while tying his career high against Dartmouth with 16 points, making his first appearance on Sportscenter's Top plays this season. He added 16 more points in the win over Marist, tying his career high with four three pointers.
The Real McRae
Senior Montell McRae is averaging 6.8 points per game through the first five contest for UB, including going 7-of-11 from three-point range early this year. McRae had 11 points in the win over Southern Illinois, while adding eight more in the victory over Dartmouth.