Bulls Begin Final Two-Game Regular Season Road Trip

UB MBB Huddle

#21/#23 Buffalo (25-3, 13-2 MAC) vs. Miami (OH) (15-13, 7-8 MAC)
March 1, 2019

Millett Hall
 - 8:00 pm

Bulls on the Air

Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/WHTK 1280 AM Rochester/SiriusXM Ch. 81/TuneIn App

Television - CBS Sports Network

Opening Tip

• The Bulls return to the road with the #1 seed on the line Friday night at Miami (OH).  A Buffalo win will clinch at least a share of the MAC Regular Season title on Friday, however, if Bowling Green loses to Kent State earlier in the day, UB can clinch the regular season title outright.
• Head coach Nate Oats has been named one of 15 finalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year award. He won his 89th game on Tuesday, moving his winning percentage up to .679, surpassing mentor Bobby Hurley for the highest in UB program history.
• The Bulls claimed their 25th win of the season on Tuesday night, the second most in school history, trailing last year's record of 27 victories,  The 25 wins though are the most ever in the regular season. UB is the first Western New York school to win 25 or more games in back-to-back seasons. It is the second straight two-year period in the MAC as Akron won 25 or more games in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
• UB remained in the top 25 for a MAC record 16th straight week as they are 21st in the latest AP Poll. The 16 weeks extend the Mid-American Conference record, surpassing the 11 straight weeks that Bowling Green was ranked during the 1961-62 season. It is also the longest consecutive streak by a Big 4 program.
• Buffalo is one of only six school with three or fewer losses joining Houston, Virginia, Gonzaga, Nevada, and Tennessee.

The Opponent

• Miami is 15-13 on the season and 7-8 in league play following an 82-69 victory at Bowling Green on Tuesday night, sweeping the season series with the Falcons. The RedHawks have been good at home this year with a 10-3 record at Millett Hall, including a perfect 6-0 during the non conference portion of the schedule. With three games left, Miami is currently in sixth place in the league standing as they are attempting to secure a home game in the upcoming MAC Tournament.
 
• The RedHawks are led by Nike Sabande, who is averaging 15.5 points per game and Dalonte Brown, who is averaging 12.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest.  Bam Bowman adds 9.9 points and 5.1 boards.  Darrian Ringo leads Miami with 144 assists on the year, while  chipping in 7.6 points per game.
 
• Miami allows the third fewest points in the league at just 69.1 points per game and the RedHawks are second in the MAC in rebounding defense as opposing teams are averaging just 33.8 boards per game against the them.
 
• Jack Owens is in his second season as head coach at Miami having led the RedHawks to their best season in seven years last season. He led Miami to 16 wins in 2018 and a berth in the College Basketball Invitational. It was the 'Hawks most victories and first postseason appearance since 2011. Prior to joining Miami, Owens spent the past nine seasons on staff at Purdue University, three as an assistant coach and the last six as its associate head coach. During his time the Boilermakers recorded 209 wins (23.2/year), including 27 during his final year (2016-17 season) to help Purdue win a Big Ten Regular Season Championship. Owens came to Purdue after a five-season stint as an assistant at Southern Illinois. In 2003-04, Owens was part of a Southern Illinois team that went 25-5 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. In the next four seasons at SIU, Owens helped guide the Salukis to three more NCAA Tournament berths, a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16, a Missouri Valley Conference title and an appearance in the National Invitation Tournament. Prior to joining SIU, Owens served as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Eastern Illinois.
 
Bulls Begin Final Two-Game Regular Season Road Trip
Having swept their most recent three-game homestand, the Bulls will takes their six game winning streak on the road for the next two games beginning Friday night at Miami.    The Bulls are looking to avenge a loss last season at Millett Hall, one of just three they suffered in league play in 2017-18.
 
In the first meeting back on January 12, the Bulls ran away in the second half for an 88-64 victory at Alumni Arena.  Senior Jeremy Harris led UB with 17 points, one of five Buffalo players in double figures in the game.
As March gets underway for Buffalo, UB has had success during the month as the Bulls are 16-7 over the last five season in the month of March, beginning with the first season that Nate Oats served as assistant coach.
 
Oats Named Finalist For National Coach Of The Year
University at Buffalo head men's basketball coach Nate Oats has been named one of 15 late season candidates for the 2019 Werner Ladder Naismith Men's College Coach of the Year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Wednesday afternoon. The Werner Ladder Naismith Coach of the Year Award will be announced at the Men's Final Four in April.
 
Give 100%
Buffalo went over 100 points for the third time this season, scoring 114 points against Ohio, its most ever against a Division I opponent. It was the third this year that UB has scored 110 or more points in a game.  Now in his fourth season, head coach Nate Oats had recorded 100 or more points nine times, including eight against Division I opponents.  Prior to Coach Oats taking the job, it took Buffalo between 1993-94 through 2014-15 to score 100 points seven times against D-I schools.
The game against Ohio marked the sixth time Buffalo has scored 100 points in a MAC game since 2015-16 when Coach Oats took over.  All five of those performances have come in regulation.  Central Michigan has done it five times since 2015-16, but used overtime in four of those occurrences.  Ball State had done it three times (two in overtime), and no other MAC school has done it more than twice.
 
Buffalo is the only team in the nation to score 110 points or more three times against Division I competition this season.  Only three teams have done it multiple times against D-I opposition as UB is joined by Duke and UNC, who have each done it twice.
 
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.  Buffalo, who is currently ranked 21st, has set a new MAC record as UB has now been ranked for 16 straight weeks, surpassing the previous mark set by the 1961-62 Bowling Green Falcons at 11 weeks. The Bulls are currently 23rd in the USA Today Coaches' Poll, the 15th week ranked there.
 
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 48 years ago. The 15 weeks in the polls from UB are a new record for a Big 4 program.
 
Massinburg Named To Multiple Midseason National Lists
Senior CJ Massinburg has done it all so far through his final season including being just one of 20 players nationally named to the Oscar Robertson Midseason Watch List, which is awarded to the nation's top player. He was also named to the midseason watch lists for the Lute Olsen Award, given to the nation's top player and the Lou Henson Award, given to the nation's top mid-major player. Most recently, he was one of 30 players nationally named to the Citizen Naismith Trophy Men's Midseason Team. He 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.
 
Massinburg then recorded the first triple-double of his career and just the second in school history in the win over Le Moyne as he had 13 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists against the Dolphins.  The triple double was the first for a UB player at Alumni Arena and the first since Shannon Evans had one at Binghamton on Dec. 30, 2014.  Massinburg is one of 15 players in the nation this year with a triple double.
 
Massinburg was named the MAC East Player of the Week after he had a game-high 25 points against Syracuse and he added 18 more at Marquette. He led the Bulls with 31 points in the win over Eastern Michigan and he added 23 against Northern Illinois. He scored 20 points against Kent State becoming the first UB player with 20 or more points in three straight games since Wes Clark did it to end the 2017-18 season. Massinburg was named MAC East Player of the Week for the third time this season as he averaged 20.5 points per game in wins over Ohio and Kent State, moving into third place on UB's all-time scoring list against Kent State.  He currently sits at 1,858 career points and next up is Rasaun Young (1993-98), who has 1,908 points.  Massinburg is one of just four players in school history with over 1,500 career points and 600 career rebounds, joining Javon McRea, Yassin Idbihi and current teammate Nick Perkins.  Massinburg is one of only five players currently in the nation with over 1,800 career points, 700 career rebounds, 250 career assists, and 100 steals. 
 
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 and this year they are ahead of that pace, averaging 85.4 points per game, which is fifth in the nation.  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.
 
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. Buffalo scored over 80 in back-to-back games to end non -conference play with 85 at Marquette and 87 at Canisius and have done it 10 of 14 times in league play. The Bulls have now scored 80 or more points 73 times in the 131 games with Nate Oats as head coach.  The Bulls are 63-10 in those games when scoring at least 80 points. UB has reached it 19 times this year in 28 games, tied for the second highest total in the nation.
 
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.
 
Perkins Named Finalist For Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award
Senior Nick Perkins has been named one of 10 finalists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, which is given out to the nation's top center.  Perkins has had a tremendous senior season as he 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.  He earned MAC Player of the Week honors again following his 20-point, 11-rebound game over Southern Illinois and Perkins then had his second straight double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds at Syracuse. Following an 18-point performance at Canisius, Perkins moved into seventh place on UB's all-time scoring list, surpassing both Sam Pellom and Turner Battle on the list. Perkins scored 21 points in the win over Eastern Michigan and Perkins most recently moved into sixth place in school history in career scoring at Northern Illinois, surpassing Yassin Idbihi.
 
Perkins, who was named to the midseason watch list for the Lou Henson Award, given to the nation's top mid major player, 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.  He scored 26 points in UB's win at Toledo, hitting four three pointers in the game and scoring 19 of his 26 points in the second half.  Perkins notched a new career high in scoring against Kent State with 27 points and he added 25 points against Akron
 
Dontay's Inferno
UB's senior guard Dontay Caruthers is one of the top defenders in the Mid-American Conference as he 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. 
Caruthers has given the Bulls a huge lift this season on both sides of the ball, capped off by his 20-point performance against Le Moyne where he was 7-of-8 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Caruthers had his second 20-point game of the year at Marquette, going 7-of-11 from the field. Caruthers earned a spot on Sportscenter Top 10 plays following his postarizing dunk at Canisius right over Malik Johnson. He also had a game-high six assists in the win over the Golden Griffins. Caruthers added 12 points and five assists in the win over Kent State, including knocking down a pair of big three pointers.  Caruthers had 21 points in the win over Ball State, while drawing three charges. He said a new career scoring mark against Bowling Green as he finished with 28 points, including going 8-of-9 from the floor.  He is shooting 57.1% from the floor on the year.  In MAC games only, he is shooting 52.4% from three point range, averaging 10.7 points per game in league games. He leads the team with 23 charges drawn this season. 
 
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 began the season slowly from three-point range as he only hit multiple threes in a game once over the first four games, but he has hit multiple three pointers in a game in even of the last nine contests. He was 7-of-12 over the final two games of non-conference play, including a season-high 22 points at Marquette. Harris had a career night against Toledo with a new high 34 points in the win, going 6-of-10 from three-point range.  Harris had 21 of his points in the first half, while also adding seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals.  He added 17 points in the win over Miami (OH), earning MAC East Co-Player of the Week honors. 
 
Monumental Wins Highlight Non-Conference Season
The Bulls opened their road schedule with one of the 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.
 
Buffalo added to their early season resume with their 71-59 win over Syracuse on Dec. 18.  The 12-point win for the Bulls was the largest margin of victory against Syracuse by a non Power-5 team since Navy did so during the 1986 NCAA Tournament.  For the Bulls, it was their first ever in the Carrier Dome, which wasn't built until 1980, and their first win over the Orange since 1963.
The Bulls also have an in-season tournament title to their credit as they won the Belfast Hall of Fame Classic with wins over Milwaukee and San Francisco.  
 
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 330.
 
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. He recorded a season high seven assists against St. Bonaventure.
 
Jordan is second on the team with 22 charges drawn this season, taking four in the win over Southern Illinois.  He also had 11 points in the game, all in the second half. Jordan added 10 points in the win over Syracuse, including knocking down a pair of second half three pointers. He stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, eight rebounds, and seven assists against Marquette. Jordan had 12 points, four assists, and three steals in the win over Kent State on Jan. 25. He flirted with triple double numbers at home against the Golden Flashes with eight points, seven rebounds, and eight assists.
 
Graves Digger
Sophomore Jayvon Graves is averaging 9.6 points per game, 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 10 plays this season.  He added 16 more points in the win over Marist, tying his career high with four three pointers. Graves recorded 19 points in the win over St. Bonaventure, knocking down a new career best five three-pointers. Graves had the first double-double of his career in the win over Toledo, as he finished with 13 points and career-high 12 rebounds, including nine of those on the defensive end. He had his second career double-double in the win over Ball State with 11 points and 12 rebounds. He scored a career high 26 points in the win over Ohio, including19 of those in the first half.  He was nearly unstoppable from three-point range, where he was 7-of-9 from behind the arc. Graves added 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists, and three blocks in the win over Akron. He is averaging 15.7 over his last three games.