BUFFALO, NY – Seniors Nick Perkins and Dontay Caruthers were both honored by the Mid-American Conference on Tuesday afternoon as Perkins earned his third straight MAC Sixth Man of the Year award, while Caruthers was named the MAC's Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in three years.
Perkins becomes the first Division I player in the nation to ever earn Sixth Man of the Year honors three times. A first-team All-MAC selection, Perkins was most recently named the national sixth man of the year by Bleacher Report on Monday. Perkins is averaging 14.9 points per game and a team-high 7.3 rebounds per contest. He is also the reigning MAC East Player of the Week.
Perkins has hit the 20-point mark 10 times this year, including nine as a reserve, which is three more than any other bench player in the entire nation. He had a career-best 27 points in Buffalo's win over Kent State and added 26 points in a road win at Toledo. Perkins went over 1,700 points for his career on Friday night and he is just two points shy of fifth place on UB's all-time scoring list.
"Nick is one of the best big men in the league if not, in my opinion the best offensive big in our league," said head coach Nate Oats. "For him to agree and be willing to and embrace the role of coming off the bench for three years now to help the team win speaks volumes to his character. He's a great teammate and one of the best cheerleaders for Montell at the start of the game and then when comes in, he's focused and ready to go."
Caruthers becomes the third player in MAC history to win Defensive Player of the Year multiple times during his career. Caruthers also won the award in 2017 during his sophomore season. An All-MAC Defensive Team selection, Caruthers leads the entire MAC in charges drawn with 25. He is second on the team in steals, but offensive he is having the best year of his career, averaging 9.4 points per game.
Caruthers and fellow All-Defensive Team selection Davonta Jordan have been given the assignment of guarding some of top players in the nation and they have been up for the challenge as they helped the UB defense drop their points allowed by game by nearly 5.0 points per contest.
"Dontay is the definition of Buffalo blue collar basketball," said Oats. "He plays so hard and he has brought us an edge that we didn't have before he got here. I think the other coaches recognize what he means to us. He enables us to play defense at a high level, which in turn gets us a lot of wins."
The MAC will announce their final two awards tomorrow with Coach of the Year and Player of the Year.