Mar 04, 2019
#19/#20 Buffalo (26-3, 14-2 MAC) vs. Ohio (13-15, 5-11 MAC)
March 5, 2019
Convocation Center - 7:00 pm
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• The Bulls hit the road for one final time in this regular season on Tuesday night as Buffalo heads to Ohio to face the Bobcats. With a win on Tuesday evening, the Bulls will have clinched the MAC regular season title outright for the second straight season and secured the #1 seed in the upcoming MAC tournament.
• Buffalo had a record-breaking performance in the first contest against Ohio, defeating the Bobcats, 114-67. The 114 points were the most ever scored against a Division I opponent and the 47-point margin of victory was also the best against a D-I school UB also hit a school record 19 three-pointers in the win.
• The Bulls claimed their 26th win of the season on Friday night. With a victory, Buffalo can tie the school record for wins at 27, which was set last year. The 26 wins 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 17th straight week as they are 19th in the latest AP Poll. The 17 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.
• Ohio is 13-15 on the season and 5-11 in league play following one of their most impressive victories of the season on Saturday, defeating Akron 73-49 on the road. Since the first meeting with UB two weeks ago, Ohio has won two of its last three games, including an overtime victory over Bowling Green. The Bobcats, who will host their final two games, are still in the fight for a top eight seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament.
• Ohio is led by Jason Carter, who has team highs of 16.3 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per contest. Teyvion Kirk is second on the team in scoring at 14.4 points per game, but he leads the Bobcats in turnovers, with 126 on the year. Ben Vander Plas had a big night in the win over Akron and he is currently averaging 9.1 points per contest.
• The Bobcats have a 10-4 record at the Convocation Center, beginning with a 7-0 record at home during non-conference play. Ohio has only been home once since Feb. 12 as they have played four of their last five games on the road.
• Saul Phillips enters his fifth season as head coach of the Ohio men's basketball program in 2018-19. Under Phillips, the Bobcats have won at least 20 games, placed second in the overall Mid-American Conference standings with 11 conference wins and advanced to the league tournament semifinals in each of the past two seasons. Ohio has won 67 games over four seasons under his watch. Phillips came to Athens following seven seasons at North Dakota State, where he guided the Bison to a 134-84 record (.615) -- including a 75-45 mark in The Summit League -- and NCAA Championship appearances in 2009 and '14. He departed Fargo with the fourth-most wins by a head coach in program history. Under Phillips' watch, the Bison produced 14 All-Summit League selections. Phillips was an assistant coach at North Dakota State for three seasons before being elevated to the head job when Tim Miles was hired by Colorado State. Before coming to North Dakota State in 2004, Phillips was the director of basketball operations for three years at Wisconsin, where he handled the day-to-day scheduling, coordinated travel, budgeting and on-campus recruiting for Bo Ryan's staff.
Bulls Go For Regular Season Crown Tuesday Night At Ohio
Buffalo is looking to clinch its second straight regular season MAC title on Tuesday night as UB heads to Athens for its second of two meetings against Ohio. A Buffalo win or a Bowling Green loss on Tuesday night will give the Bulls the outright regular season crown and will secure the #1 seed in the upcoming Mid-American Conference Tournament.
The Bulls enter Tuesday night's game with 11 true road victories, tied for the second most in the nation. Adding in the two neutral wins, and the 13 victories away from home are also the second most nationally.
With two games remaining, Ohio still has an outside chance at a first round home game in the MAC Tournament if it can win its last two games.
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.
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 19th, has set a new MAC record as UB has now been ranked for 17 straight weeks, surpassing the previous mark set by the 1961-62 Bowling Green Falcons at 11 weeks. The Bulls are currently 20th in the USA Today Coaches' Poll, the 16th 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 averaged 21.5 points and 10.0 rebounds a game, earning his second straight MAC Player of the Week honor. He currently sits at 1,878 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 85.1 points per game, which is sixth 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 16 times in league play. The Bulls have now scored 80 or more points 73 times in the 132 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 29 games, tied for the third 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
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 56.6% from the floor on the year. In MAC games only, he is shooting 50.0% from three point range, averaging 10.2 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.
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.
Sophomore Jayvon Graves is averaging 9.7 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 had 13 more points at Miami and is averaging 15.0 points per game over his last four games.