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Massinburg scores 21 for UB; Oats wants better rebounding

University at Buffalo star CJ Massinburg rebounded quicker than expected from the sprained knee he suffered last week.

Massinburg returned to score a game-high 21 points in 25 minutes in the Bulls' rout of Marist Saturday. Massinburg, who sat out Wednesday’s win over Dartmouth, didn't start. He hit 6 of 7 3-point shots and 7 of 10 from the field overall.

“I thought the injury was going to be worse," Massinburg said. "When I injured my MCL before the season, the next day I could barely walk. It took me two weeks to heal. This time, I didn’t feel like the injury was as bad. The next day I was walking pretty fine.”

Sophomore guard Jayvon Graves scored 16 for the Bulls. Senior Jeremy Harris had six points, eight assists and no turnovers.

Poll watch: The Bulls have a chance to move up this week in the national ranking. Nos. 17, 18 and 19 (UCLA, Texas Christian and LSU) all lost this week. TCU was upset by Lipscomb. UB is just the third Mid-American Conference team to be ranked since 2000, joining Kent State in 2008 and Ball State in 2001. Ball State peaked at No. 15 that year.

Board work: Marist got 10 offensive rebounds, much to the displeasure of UB coach Nate Oats.

"We’ve got to do a much better job on the defensive glass," Oats said. "We’re not rebounding it well enough right now. That to me is our biggest problem. We were struggling on offense. We didn’t play great on offense today but we were good enough. I felt like the biggest area we needed to improve was our defensive rebounding."

Next: UB leaves for Northern Ireland on Monday. The Bulls play two games in the Belfast Hall of Fame Classic, against Milwaukee on Nov. 30 and either San Francisco or Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 1.

"I like giving our guys different looks as far as going places," Oats said. "We went to the Cayman Islands, we went to Alaska, we’ve been to the Bahamas. We haven’t been to Europe. A lot of teams will do the European deal on a summer trip. This one the Hall of Fame runs it. They funded the whole thing. So I thought it was a great way with our budget to get our guys over to Europe. None of them have been there before. . . . We’re making it real educational. We’ve got academic performance specialists. They put together a pretty comprehensive class our players are taking this semester. They’re not getting any credits for it. But we did the class. We’ve had different speakers. Our guys are fully aware of the political situation and the turmoil that’s gone on in Northern Ireland."

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