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UB men's basketball looks for 3-0 start Monday night at Southern Illinois

UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO ATHLETICS

Buffalo (2-0) at Southern Illinois (0-1)
November 12, 2018

SIU Arena
 - 7:00 pm 
Bulls on the Air:
Radio 
- ESPN 1520-AM WWKB/TuneIn App
Television 
- ESPN+

Quick Hits

• The Bulls will conclude their two-game road trip on Monday night with a tough road battle at Southern Illinois.  Both the Bulls and Salukis played nationally ranked competition on Friday night with Buffalo taking down #13 West Virginia, while SIU had both first and second half leads at #2 Kentucky.  This is the first all-time meeting between these schools, but they will see each other once again on Dec. 15 when SIU comes to Alumni Area.
• UB senior CJ Massinburg became just the eighth player in college basketball, dating back to the 2010-11 season, to record at least 40 points and 14 rebounds in a game.  He is only the third one to do it on the road, and the first to do it against a nationally-ranked opponent.
• Dating back to the 2010-11 season, no opponent has scored more points against West Virginia then Buffalo did on Friday night with their 99 points.  The only other opponents who have scored over 90 points against WVU over the last nine seasons are Iowa State (93), Kansas (91), and Villanova (90).
• Monday night's game is a homecoming for Director of Basketball Operations Adam Bauman, who is a 2009 graduate of Southern Illinois.  He served as a team manager and during his time in Carbondale, the Salukis garnered bids to three NCAA Tournaments and one NIT. He was a part of the 2007 SIU squad that advanced to the Sweet 16.

The Opponent

• Southern Illinois opened up their season second-ranked Kentucky on Friday night and held their own against the Wildcats, holding leads over Big Blue in both the first and second halves before Kentucky came away with the 71-59 win.  Aaron Cook led the way for Southern Illinois with 18 points, while Kavion Pippen added 16 points for the Salukis.
 
• Southern Illinois went 20-13 on the season last year and 11-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference before falling in overtime in the conference tournament to Illinois State. The Saluki defense allowed under 70 points a game last year, forcing their opponents into 13.5 turnovers per game.  They return their top four scorers from last season, all four averaging 9.8 points per game or better.
 
• The Salukis were picked to finish in third place in the preseason poll for the Missouri Valley Conference behind Loyola Chicago and Illinois State.  Southern Illinois received four first place votes in the preseason MVC Poll.
 
• With 15 seasons as the head coach at two Missouri Valley Conference schools (Missouri State and Southern Illinois), Barry Hinson is the Dean of the MVC and ranks fourth all-time in overall wins (268) and MVC wins (145).  The Salukis have posted three-straight winning seasons under Hinson, including a 20-13 mark in 2018. Picked to finish fifth, the team placed second with an 11-7 league record.  In 2016, SIU achieved a 22-10 record, a season in which Hinson was named the MVC Coach of the Year. Hinson was named the school's basketball head coach during a press conference on March 28, 2012. He became just the 13th head coach in the 99-year history of the program. Hinson served four years on Bill Self's staff at the University of Kansas from 2008-12. Hinson spent eight years as a high school coach in Oklahoma before landing a college job on Self's staff at Oral Roberts in 1993.
 
Bulls Head To Carbondale For Meeting With Salukis
The Bulls face the Southern Illinois Salukis on Monday night, looking for their first 3-0 start to a season since 1986-87.  The Bulls are coming off a 99-94 overtime victory at 13th ranked West Virgina on Friday night, overcoming a double figure deficit with  under five minutes remaining.  While Buffalo and Southern Illinois have never met, UB is 6-8 all-time against schools currently in the Missouri Valley Conference, including three of those wins coming against Evansville.
 
Southern Illinois is looking for their first win of the season following a 71-59 loss at Kentucky. Monday night is the first of three straight home games for Southern Illinois, who will play Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Saturday and Howard next Monday.
 
I'm A Man, I'm 40!
Senior CJ Massinburg had a career night on Friday in the win at nationally-ranked West Virgina as he scored 43 points and 14 rebounds.  His 43 points are the second highest total by a player in the nation this year, only behind the 44 points scored by Chris Clemons of Campbell. 
 
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 1,408 career points, which is seventh in school history and he is just six points shy of passing Turner  Battle(2001-05) for sixth place.  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 though three seasons.  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 Takedown 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. 
 
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 MassinburgNick 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, the 56th time in 105 games as UB head coach that a Nate Oats teams has scored 80 or more points.  The Bulls are 48-8 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 begins his senior season 14th on UB's all-time scoring list with 1,271 points, just nine shy of Rick Coleman (1987-91) for 13th 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.
 
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.  He continued to show his improvements in the season opener as he filled up the stat sheet with eight points, five assists, three steals, and three-blocked shots, which tied a career-high.
 
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.
 
Caruthers has been one of the best free throw shooters in the country early on this season as he has gone 12-of-12, the best total in the MAC without missing a shot.
 
Graves Digger
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 13.0 points per game through the first two contests, including scoring 14 points in the win over West Virginia, including a few monster dunks right over the Big 12 caliber foes.
 
The Real McRae
Senior Montell McRae averaged 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in his first season with the Bulls after transferring in from South Plains Junior College.  McRae played in all 36 games for UB and started five contests early.  He had three games where he scored in double figures in points, including a conference road win at Akron, where he finished with 11.  He scored nine points on three made three-pointers at Texas A&M last year, keeping the Bulls close against their SEC foe. 
 
Williams To Show He's Prolific
Fans will get their first chance to watch highly-touted freshman Jeenathan Williams, who will play his first season for the Bulls this year.  A Rochester, NY native, Williams spent his senior season at Prolific Prep in Napa Valley, CA where he averaged 15.8 points per game.
 
Williams has been listed by Rivals.com as the 83rd best recruit in the country and ESPN.com listed him as the sixth best player in the state of New York. Williams had seven points, five rebounds, and two blocked shots in his collegiate debut against St. Francis.
 
Ball On A String
One of the other highly-touted newcomers on this year's team is freshman Ronaldo "Rondo" Segu.  A native of Orlando, FL, Segu won a 3A State Title his senior season with Orlando Christian Prep, scoring 11 points in the title game.  Segu played his prep ball with current North Carolina freshman Nassir Little, who many have pegged as a possible #1 overall NBA draft pick next season. Segu was listed as the 44th best point guard in the nation by Rivals.com this past season.  He is a social media star, that has over 108,000 followers on Instagram.