The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team used an incredible 26-0 run to pull away from Eastern Michigan and cruised to an 83-69 win Tuesday at Alumni Arena, continuing their program-record 7-0 start to Mid-American Conference play.
UB's Jeremy Harris posted a double-double with a game-high 22 points and a career-best 14 rebounds. C.J. Massinburg scored 18 points while Nick Perkins added 17 off the bench. Paul Jackson led EMU with 20 points but Elijah Minnie and James Thompson IV, who each entered the game averaging over 15 points a game, were held to three and eight points, respectively.
What it means: UB is on fire. The Bulls have won eight straight games, matching their longest winning streak since ripping off eight straight victories on the way to the MAC Tournament championship in 2015. This is the first time they have ever been 7-0 in the MAC.
How did a 26-0 run happen? UB definitely deserves credit for playing well, but a run like this doesn’t happen without an opponent going absolutely ice cold. EMU took a 13-11 lead with 11:30 to go in the first half, and then didn’t score again for nine-and-a-half minutes while going 0-of-9 from the field and 0-of-3 from the free-throw line, committing seven turnovers in the process. UB pushed its lead to 37-13 before Tim Bond finally made a free throw with 2:02 left before halftime. Malik Ellison hit a three-pointer with 31 seconds left in the half to end the Eagles’ stretch without a field goal at 9 minutes, 28 seconds. UB didn’t shoot particularly well in the first half, going 11 of 29 (37.9%) from the field, but got to the line 15 times, making 11.
Ever seen that before? "Yeah," UB coach Nate Oats said, "back in high school, when we were about 100 times better than the other team."
Is that some kind of record? Not quite. The NCAA record for a scoring run is 39-0, set by Oklahoma in 2012 against Weber State. The record for holding an opponent without a field goal in the NCAA’s shot clock era (since 1986) is 22:05, set by Delaware State in 2012 over the course of two games. The record for fewest points allowed in the first half against a D-I opponent is five, set by Notre Dame against California in 2010.
Second half: EMU made its push but never got closer than 10 points at 68-58 with 5:19 to play.
Game line: Vegas set the line at UB -11.5, over/under 149.5. UB covered, total was 152.
T’d up: Eastern Michigan coach Rob Murphy was hit with a technical foul for yelling at referees after a foul call with 11:19 to play. Wes Clark hit both shots.
Lighting it up: UB is the first MAC team to score at least 80 points in every game on a winning streak of seven or longer since the 1999-00 Marshall squad.
Glass man: Thompson IV, who entered the game fifth nationally in rebounds (11.6 per game), grabbed 16 boards in the loss. He was 3 of 6 from the field, which will slightly lower his .685 field-goal percentage, which ranked ninth nationally entering the game.
Perkins closes in on 1,000: Perkins has come off the bench in the 10 games since Clark, a Missouri transfer, was cleared to play. But he entered Tuesday averaging 18.2 ppg over that stretch, and added 17 more Tuesday. He now needs 16 points to reach 1,000 for his career. Only 20 other Bulls have reached that mark. He has also been the MAC East player of the week four times in a row.
Not worth winning if you can’t win big: UB has now won seven straight games by double digits, its longest streak since 1964-65.
Starters: UB started C.J. Massinburg, Davonta Jordan, Wes Clark, Jeremy Harris and Ikenna Smart for the 10th game in a row. EMU countered with James Thompson IV, Paul Jackson, Elijah Minnie, Jordan Nobles and Ty Groce.
Up next: UB plays at Ohio (9-9, 2-4 MAC) at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.