UB Looks For Eighth Straight Win Wednesday Night

Nate Oats

#17/#18 Buffalo (7-0) vs. Le Moyne (5-3)
December 5, 2018

Alumni Arena
 - 7:00 pm

Bulls on the Air

Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App

Television - ESPN3 

Opening Tip

• Winners of seven straight to begin the season, Buffalo returns home on Wednesday night when the 17th-ranked Bulls will face Le Moyne.  The Bulls have won 14 straight games against non Division-I competition with their last loss coming against Brooklyn on Dec. 28, 1991.
• Buffalo is 7-0 on the season, its best start to a year since 1930-31 when they went undefeated with a perfect 15-0 record. UB is the first MAC team to open a season 7-0 since Northern Illinois did it to open the 2015-16 season. No MAC team has started 8-0 or better since Toledo in the 2013-14 season when the Rockets were 12-0 to begin the year.
• The Bulls are ranked 17th in the latest AP Poll, the fourth the fourth straight week they have been ranked. Buffalo becomes just the third MAC program to be nationally ranked by the Associated Press since 2000 joining Kent State in 2008 and Ball State, who was ranked for four weeks in December of 2001, where they peaked at 15th in the nation.  UB bumped up two spots to 18th in the latest USA Today coaches poll, the first MAC program since Akron in 2012-13 when they were ranked #25.
• Senior CJ Massinburg became just the fourth player in school history to hit at least 200 career three-pointers as he currently has 203 for his career. He is 19 three pointers away from second place in school history. Mike Martinho holds the school record with 328 three pointers.

The Opponent

• Le Moyne is 5-3 on the season and 3-2 in NE10 play following a loss in their most recent game to Pace University, 56-53.  Earlier this season, the Dolphins found themselves in a three overtime affair against Pitt-Johnstown, a game they would go on to win 102-99.  Le Moyne began the year with an 89-52 loss in a preseason exhibition at Syracuse.
 
• Le Moyne has four players averaging in double figures in points led by Kobi Nwandu, who is averaging 18.3 points per game.  He is almost automatic from the free throw line, having hit on 40-of-42 to start the year. Malik Garneer is averaging 13.1 points and a team-high 33 assists, while Tom Brown is averaging 10.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per contest.
 
• Le Moyne was picked to finish in third place in the Southwest Division of the Northeast 10 during the preseason as they received 71 points and first place vote.  Southern Connecticut State was picked to win the division, while Saint Anselm was picked to win the Northeast Division.
 
• Patrick Beilein is the eighth head men's basketball coach at Le Moyne. Beilein, the son of former Le Moyne head coach (1983-92) and current University of Michigan head coach John Beilein, spent one season as the player development coach for the National Basketball Association's Utah Jazz. Before accepting his position with the Jazz, Beilein was the head men's basketball coach at Division II West Virginia Wesleyan College for two seasons, during which time he guided the Bobcats to a record of 32-27. Prior to his time at West Virginia Wesleyan, he spent one season as the director of basketball operations at Bradley University. Following graduation, Beilein played in the 2006 NBA Summer League for the Houston Rockets.
 
UB Looks For Eighth Straight Win Wednesday Night
Having moved up in the national rankings for the fourth straight week, the #17/#18 Buffalo Bulls will host Le Moyne on Wednesday night at Alumni Arena.  The Bulls are coming off a pair of wins at the Belfast Classic, including knocking San Francisco from the ranks of the unbeatens with an 85-81 victory in the championship game. This was the second time in the Nate Oats' era that UB had won an in-season tournament.  In his first season of 2015-16, the Bulls won the Springfield Bracket at the Hall of Fame Tipoff Classic at the Mohegan Sun.
 
As of Tuesday, Buffalo was one of just 11 schools still undefeated on the season, joining Virginia, Gonzaga, Kansas, Nevada, Texas Tech, Houston, Michigan, St. John's, Arizona State, and Furman.
 
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. No MAC team has been in the polls for five consecutive weeks or longer since Western Michigan during the 1975-76 season.
 
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. Bowling Green holds the MAC record for most weeks in the polls in one season with 11 during the 1961-62 campaign.
 
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 sixth 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 1,467 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.  
 
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 Nov. 9 in the first road of the year, 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 and had over 80 points in each of the two games in Ireland, including 96 against Milwaukee. The Bulls have now scored 80 or more points 59 times in the 110 games with Nate Oats as head coach.  The Bulls are 51-8 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
Senior Nick Perkins was named the Most Valuable Player at the Belfast Classic and was named the MAC East Co-Player of the Week following back-to-back 20 point performances against Milwaukee and San Francisco.  Perkins now has 1,342 points for his career, good for 10th place in school history in career scoring.  He is 43 points shy of Louis Campbell for ninth place in school history.  
 
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.
 
Crossing Jordan
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. 
 
Graves Digger
Sophomore Jayvon Graves is averaging 11.0 points per game through the first seven contests, which is fourth 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 7.6 points per game through the first seven contest for UB, including going 10-of-16 from three-point range.  After shooting under 30% from three last year, McRae has been the most improved shooter on the team, shooting .625 from behind the arc, which leads the MAC.  McRae doesn't currently have enough attempts to qualify for the national rankings, but his 62.5% would rank first. McRae had 11 points in the win over Southern Illinois, while adding eight more in the victory over Dartmouth. He had eight points and 10 boards against Milwaukee and went 3-for-3 from three-point range and had 11 points in the win over San Francisco. 
 
Dontay's Inferno
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.