Buffalo shows no mercy, denies Bowling Green – Toledo Blade

Buffalo shows no mercy, denies Bowling Green - Toledo Blade
UB mens basketball wins MAC Tournament with emphatic victory
CLEVELAND – In the hours before the MAC Tournament championship game, University at Buffalo mens basketball coach Nate Oats received a text message from former UB star Wes Clark.

Clark knows a little something about identifying success and successful players in the postseason. Clark helped the Bulls win the 2018 MAC Tournament championship and earn a berth in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

Following a loss, Sue Guevara is always the type of coach who will give credit to the opposing team for how it played to land Central Michigan a defeat.

UB men and women set to play for the MAC Championship

He told me something along the lines, that Jeremy was about to go off today, Oats said. Hes like, I just talked to him, and I could tell in his voice. Trust me, Jeremys about to go off today.

The 18th-ranked Bulls (30-3) advance to the championship game 7:30 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) against the winner of Fridays late semifinal between No. 3 seed Bowling Green and No. 7 seed Northern Illinois. Both were the only two teams to defeat UB in MAC play. It will be Buffalos fourth MAC final in the last five seasons.

Harris scored a game-high 31 points to help the Bulls to an 87-73 win against Bowling Green for the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship on Saturday at Quicken Loans Arena. The Bulls clinched their fourth MAC championship and their fourth NCAA Tournament berth since 2015. UB won conference titles and received automatic bids in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Poor 3-point shooting by UB was not helping the Bulls cause, but it kept launching bombs. Ultimately, it was rebounding that saved Buffalo. Three straight offensive boards, all off missed 3-pointers, became layups and the Bulls took their first second-half lead, 69-68, with 8:09 to play.

My teammates did a good job of giving me the ball, giving me space, Harris said. My coaches, and Coach Oats, he just believes in me. Ive never had a coach believe in me so much, and I thank Coach Oats so much.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Buffalo survived a horrendous 3-point shooting night with some bodacious rebounding and clutch free-throw shooting by conference MVP CJ Massinburg to defeat Central Michigan, 85-81, in a Mid-American Conference Tournament semifinal Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Bulls improve to 31-3, a MAC record for wins in a season in mens basketball. The Bulls enter the NCAA Tournament on a 12-game winning streak and will learn their tournament destination when the NCAA announces the 68-team field Sunday night.

Central, the No. 5 seed, was able to regroup and, after a pair of 3-pointers, the Chippewas had their first lead, 21-18. Suddenly, Buffalo was lured into a track meet, and its offensive catalyst from the quarterfinal thumping of Akron, Jeremy Harris, did not have his early scoring touch.

Harris continued his torrid tournament pace; he entered the game having scored in double figures in UBs last five games, including 23 points in an 82-46 win against Akron on Thursday in a quarterfinal.

Buffalo, trailing deep into the second half in great measure due to 6-of-32 shooting on 3-pointers, used its 47-30 rebounding advantage, including 18 on the offensive boards, to finally get the lead, then creep away. Afterward, they were ready to shoot some more.

Jeremy just kept cooking, Oats said. Weve been calling him Mr. March, kind of for a reason. He was really good two out of three (games) last year, he was really good two out of three here this year.

March gives you a different perspective, and teams start to play harder and harder,” McRae said. “Jeremy has looked forward to March, and March is here.

Bowling Green scored 99 points in their opening MAC Tournament victory over Ball State, and the Falcons were hot again against the Huskies (17-17). Junior guard Dylan Frye scored 10 of his 25 points early, including a pair of 3-pointers, as BG built an early 20-11 lead.

Even Harris teammates knew he was in control of his game, beginning with an emphatic dunk 94 seconds into the game against Bowling Green (22-12).

But NIU went stone cold after that while the Falcons, with nine different players scoring in the half, kept cruising, building their lead to 46-23 at the break behind 60.7-percent shooting overall and 60-percent (6-of-10) on 3-pointers.

Video: MAC Basketball Tournament 2019: Coach Michael Huger talks about Bowling Greens victory

That dunk, McRae said. That dunk was so big, thats how I knew he was locked in, from the start.

Jeremy was cooking, man, he was cooking, said Massinburg, who scored 17 points against Bowling Green. Thirteen for 20 (shooting), thats efficient, man. That man over there? Hes something different.

NIU opened the second half fast, launching a 18-2 run as BG shots around the rim that were falling early suddenly bounced around the rim and out. The Huskies cut the deficit to 48-41 at the 13:12 mark, leading to a BG timeout.

Video: MAC Basketball Tournament 2019: Coach Nate Oats talks about Buffalos victory over Central Michigan

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Bowling Green coach Michael Huger pointed not only to Harris production but to Jayvon Graves output at the perimeter. Graves scored 17 points and went 4-of-8 on 3-pointers; UB went 13 for 33 on 3-pointers against the Falcons (22-12).

Share Share MBB: MAC Semi Finals, Buffalo Bulls 85 Central Michigan 81 tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports It wasnt pretty but the Buffalo Bulls are moving on to the Mid American Conference finals after getting past CMU by a score of 85-81.

Video: MAC Basketball Tournament 2019: Coach Nate Oats talks about Buffalos victory over Central Michigan

It was a lot of Harris, he got really hot,” Huger said. “He was driving, he got layups, he finished with 31, 32 points. He played extremely well. So he was the real difference in the game. And Graves did his job. Thats what he does, he shoot 3s and we were willing to give that up to take away the drives, and they made the plays.”

A David DiLeo three point shot gave CMU a 24-21 lead with 8:26 in the first and the Chips held a lead all the way until the Montell McRea scored a tip in with 8:11 left in the second to give the Bulls a 69-68 lead.

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The Bulls led by as many as 15 points in the first half, and Bowling Green didnt hit its first 3-pointer until less than four minutes remained in the half. But Daeqwon Plowdens shot cut UBs lead to 36-31, part of a 14-3 run in the final 4:13 that cut UBs lead to 39-38 with 1:30 left in the half.

During that span Central Michigans zone flustered UB down low and the Bulls terrible three point shooting was to opposite of CMU. Rebounding is all that kept the game within reach for the Bulls.

The Bulls and the Falcons traded the lead six times in more than two minutes midway through the second half, and UB used an 11-3 run to open its lead to 74-68 with less than five minutes left.

After McRea gave the Bulls a lead, they and CMU wend back and fourth for the final eight minutes, with Central trying the game a hand full of times, but the Bulls would not fall behind again.

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But Nick Perkins fouled out with 4:26, a fourth foul plus a technical foul, and Justin Turner and Demajeo Wiggins made three of four free throws to cut UBs lead to 74-71.

Buffalo will now face the winner of tonights game between Northern Illinois and Bowling Green. The two teams that were the only squads to beat Buffalo in conference play this season.

The Bulls didnt panic, though. Eighteen seconds later, Graves 3-pointer opened UBs lead back to seven points, kicking off a decisive 13-2 run that closed the game for the Bulls.

BG battled and took a pair of one-possession leads, but Buffalos 3-pointers that werent falling early were suddenly nailed, including a critical one by Jayvon Graves when BG had closed within 71-74 inside the final five minutes. When BG answered with a turnover, a driving layup by Harris then a Harris 3-pointer were too much to overcome, leaving the Falcons down 79-71 and not enough time to do it.

Survive and advance: BG loses big lead, but rallies to MAC title game

One thing weve been working all year, going back to the offseason, is mental toughness, Massinburg said. We went on a retreat and the coaches wanted to break us down and just try build our mental toughness to be real strong.

A 7-0 run followed for Buffalo with forward Jeremy Harris attacking the rim off the dribble, forcing BG coach Michael Huger to call a timeout with UB holding a 26-13 lead. The Falcons would go nearly six minutes without a field goal as the Bulls began to take control. Yet what hurt them vs. NIU – ill-advised 3-pointers – suddenly surfaced against BG with the same early scud missile results.

For moments like these. A guy gets a tech, and we try not to let it affect us. Wed seen that theyd cut it down to four, and maybe even to three, but we didnt get rattled. We pulled everybody in and nobody overreacted or started screaming at Nick. We just knew what time it was. It was winning time.

Share Share Veteran Bulls Claim MAC Title and NCAA Automatic Bid tweet share Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Buffalo Bulls Athletic Department Redemption can be sweet, no matter how long it takes. A year after losing in the finals, the #4 Buffalo Bulls beat the #2 Ohio Bobcats, 77-61 in the 2019 MAC Womens Basketball Tournament final at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Saturday. The Bulls also claim the MACs automatic bid to the NCAA Womens Basketball Tournament.

After Bowling Green (22-11) won its semifinal game over Northern Illinois, 71-67, head coach Michael Huger made it clear the Falcons, playing in their first MAC title game since 2002, could not let No. 18 Buffalo do what NIU physically did to disrupt BG after it build a 20-point lead.

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Buffalo looked like the veteran and experienced team it is throughout this tournament. The Bulls won the tournament in 2016, lost in the semifinals in 2017, before losing in last years finals. They picked the right time to play their best basketball of the season.

The 6-7 forward called the X-Factor by UB coach Nate Oats delivered 31 points, both driving to the hoop and nailing 3-pointers, especially early and down the stretch, as UB won its fourth MAC Tournament title in the last five seasons. And Harris was named Tournament MVP.

This years MAC Tournament MVP was Buffalos Cierra Dillard, and this was her fourth deep tournament run in Cleveland. That experience served her well, as she finished with 22 points, four rebounds and five assists against Ohio.

But she had some help. Teammates and fellow All-Tournament Team members, Summer Hemphill and Hanna Hall had big games as well. Hemphill finished will a double-double with 16 points and 21 rebounds. Hall had 17 points on 5 of 9 shooting from three-point, as well as seven assists.

The Bulls shot 42% from the field for the game and even better from three-point at 45%. The Bulls also dominated the boards in the game, 46-29.

The Bulls built a lead as many as 17 points in the first half and led 43-28 at the half. In the second half, they pushed the lead to as many as 19 points before Ohio cut it down to eight points with 5:46 to play in the game. But Dillard and her teammates had way too much composure to let the lead slip away, dominating play over the last five minutes to claim the victory.

Ohio was led in scoring by All-Tournament Team selection, Cece Hooks game high 24 points. Dominique Doseck (14) and Amani Burke (11) also scored in double figures for the Bobcats.

Buffalo improves to 23-9 on the year and will wait to find out its NCAA Tournament opponent. The Bobcats are now 27-5 and will await to hear where it will play this postseason. The MAC could well be at least a two-bid league this year. Ohio, Central Michigan and Miami all have legitimate cases for at-large bid consideration to the NCAA tournament. Well find out on Selection Monday.


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