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Quick Hits: Jeremy Harris' offensive bounce-back gives UB some optimism

MILWAUKEE – If there was a silver lining in No. 14-ranked University at Buffalo’s 103-85 loss at No. 20 Marquette Friday night, it was the shooting of senior wing Jeremy Harris.

The 6-foot-7 Harris is part of UB’s “big three” with CJ Massinburg and Nick Perkins. But Harris has endured a cold shooting stretch the first semester.

Harris entered Friday’s game hitting only 26 percent behind the arc this season. Harris shot 41.8 percent from three-point range last season. In fact, over the last 24 games of last season, he shot 47 percent from 3-point range.

Harris looked like his shooting stroke was back. He made 4 of 7 3-pointers and finished with 22 points. He shot 8 of 15 overall.

“Hopefully this gets him going,” said UB coach Nate Oats. “Four for seven is a lot better than the way he’s been shooting.”

Harris had a sore wrist the first couple weeks of the season, but it has been fine in recent weeks. UB will need him at last year's level, when he scored 15.5 ppg, during the conference schedule.

“I’ve just tried to stay in the gym, that’s about it,” Harris said.

First half: Marquette took a 39-38 lead into halftime. Howard only played 11 minutes for Marquette and scored five points because he picked up two early fouls.

Harris led the Bulls with 11 points the first 20 minutes. UB generally moved the ball well but had trouble finishing against the taller Golden Eagles front court. UB shot 38 percent in the first half. Marquette shot 39 percent.

Big O list: CJ Massinburg was named one of just 20 players nationally to the Oscar Robertson Midseason Watch List, awarded to the nation's top player at the end of the season. The list was put together by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

Massinburg moved into fifth place on UB's all-time scoring list following his 25-point night at Syracuse. He is one of just three players in school history with over 1,500 career points and 600 career rebounds (with Javon McCrea and Yassin Idbihi). Massinburg, only 6-3, stands sixth on UB’s career rebounding list. McCrea is 6-7, Idbihi 6-10.

The Dallas native opened the season with 43 points in UB's win at West Virginia, the highest scoring output in a road game ever by a Buffalo player. He is the only player from the Mid-American Conference on the list. Marquette’s Howard is on the list. Top-ranked Kansas put one player on the list (Dedrick Lawson). Two players from No. 2 Duke are on it (Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett).

Ball sharing: UB was good at sharing the ball last season. It’s even better this year. The Bulls have had an assist on 58.5 percent of their field goals made, which ranks 43rd in the nation. Last year the Bulls assisted on 53.5 percent of their baskets, which was third best in the MAC and 153rd in the country.

The unbeaten: Besides UB, seven other teams in the nation entered Friday unbeaten. They were: No. 1 Kansas (10-0), No. 4 Michigan (11-0), No. 5 Virginia (10-0), No. 6 Nevada (11-0), No. 21 Houston (11-0), No. 24 Furman (12-0) and St. John’s (11-0). Furman was visiting LSU Friday.

Evenly matched: UB entered the game ranked 23rd in the nation in offensive efficiency and 38th in defensive efficiency. Marquette ranked 33rd on offense and 45th on defense. Efficiency is measured by points scored or allowed per 100 possessions, while factoring in the opponent's efficiency.

New home: This is Marquette’s first season in Fiserv Forum, the $524 million downtown arena that is home to the Milwaukee Bucks. In 2014, the NBA gave the Bucks owners an ultimatum: either get a new stadium built or sell the franchise to bidders who would move the team out of town. In 2015, the state of Wisconsin approved taxpayer funding for the project.

Coach K disciple: Steve Wojciechowski is in his fifth season at Marquette. He starred at Duke from 1995-98, twice earning all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors. He served as an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski at Duke from 1999 to 2014.

Next: UB has a week off before its next game, next Saturday at 7 p.m. vs. Canisius at the Koessler Athletic Center. The game is sold out. Canisius also is off until then. That’s the last non-conference game for UB.

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