Saturday, December 10, 2016

ESPN 3: Buffalo to Face Coppin State at 2 PM ET


Buffalo (4-5, 0-0 MAC) vs. Coppin St. (0-11, 0-0 MEAC)
December 10, 2016
Alumni Arena - 2:00 pm ET

Bulls on the Air
Radio - ESPN 1520-AM WWKB

Television - ESPN3

The Opening Tip...
• For just the second time this season the University at Buffalo men's basketball team will play inside the friendly confines of Alumni Arena when the Bulls host Coppin State on Saturday afternoon. UB is coming off a six-game road trip that saw the Bulls span the entire length of the United States, playing games in Alaska, Nebraska, New York, and Pennsylvania.

• According to the latest rankings, the Bulls have played the sixth toughest non-conference schedule in the nation in games played through Dec. 8. Of the top 10 teams in strength of schedule, the Bulls and Northwestern State have the most victories with four.

• Sophomore CJ Massinburg made his regular season debut on Wednesday night after missing the first eight games of the season due to mononucleosis. Massinburg played 25 minutes off the bench against Pitt, finishing the night with 14 points, three rebounds, and five assists. Freshman Quate McKinzie also made his return to the lineup after missing four games with a concussion. McKinzie had six points and six rebounds off the bench.

The Opponent
• Coppin State is 0-11 on the season after an 87-63 loss at Akron on Wednesday night. The Eagles have played one of the tougher schedules in the country and like the Bulls have played just one home game up until this point. Earlier this year, Coppin State lost a close game to Ball State 79-77.

• Coppin State is led by Josh Treadwell, who is averaging 9.8 points per game. The Eagles do not have a single play averaging double figures, but they have five players averaging at least 7.4 points per game. Tre' Thomas is averaging 9.7 points per contest and Dejuan Clayton averaged 8.5 points. Trey Harris and Blake Simpson are tied for the team-lead in boards with 4.9

• Coppin State ranks 14th in the nation in 3-pt field goal attempts (255) and 30th in total rebounds (385). They lead the MEAC in both of those categories and they are third in offensive rebounding at (12.18). Coppin State shot a season-best 47% from behind the arc in the game against the Zips.

• Michael Grant embarks on his third season as the head men's basketball coach at Coppin State University. He is the sixth head men's basketball coach since 1964. In 2015-16, the Eagles advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2016 MEAC Basketball Tournament for the second straight season after upsetting NC A&T in double overtime in the opening round. He has also been the coach at Stillman College, Southern University and Central State University. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Grant also coached at Kentucky State University, Alleghany College, Cleveland State University, and the University of Toledo.

Home Cooking Awaits Bulls
After spending the last three full weeks playing on the road, Buffalo returns to Alumni Arena a six-game road trip where UB finished 2-4, with losses coming to teams in the Big East, ACC, Mountain West, and Atlantic 10.
UB returns home to face a Coppin State squad that is still looking for their first victory of 2016-17 and a team that has not won a non-conference game vs. a Division I team since December 11, 2013. The Bulls and Eagles have met just once in the all-time series, a 69-52 victory for Coppin State back in 1993.

Mystery, Alaska
The Bulls finished in third place at the Great Alaska Shootout with a 2-1 record over their three contests in Anchorage. Senior Blake Hamilton led all scorers in the field averaging 24.3 points per game. He had a career-high 36 points against Alaska-Anchorage, tied for the eighth most in the 39-year history of the tournament. Sophomore Nick Perkins was also named to the All-Tournament team following his first career double-double in the win over Weber State.

3-Peat After Me
The Bulls are looking to do something that no Mid-American Conference school has ever accomplished and that is win three straight MAC Tournament titles. Buffalo has already become the first team since Kent State to go in back-to-back seasons when the Golden Flashes did it in 2001 and 2002, but a third straight trip would make conference history. No Big 4 school has gone to three straight NCAA Tournament since Canisius in 1955-57.
Buffalo is one of only five programs to have won conference titles in both 2014-15 and 2015-16 joining Hampton (MEAC), Northern Iowa (Missouri Valley), Kentucky (SEC), and Gonzaga (WCC). Of that group, Gonzaga is the only one to have received three straight automatic bids into the NCAA Tournament.

Road Warriors
The Bulls will be traveling over 9,000 miles during non-conference play this season, having played eight of their first nine regular season games away from home, a stretch that concluded Wednesday at Pittsburgh. UB opened the season with a 76-66 win at Niagara before falling at nationally-ranked Xavier. Following a victory over Nazareth in the home opener, UB made the long trek to the Great White North when Buffalo played in Anchorage, Alaska for the Great Alaska Shootout. UB made a quick stop in Omaha, NE on the way back to face nationally-ranked Creighton and then returned to Western New York before making a trip down to St. Bonaventure this past Saturday afternoon. The road trip concluded Wednesday night at Pittsburgh. It will be the first of two straight trips to the Steel City for UB, who will face Robert Morris down there on Dec. 21.

For The Record
The Bulls had quite the historical evening during their home-opening victory against Nazareth. In the 85-38 win, UB allowed its fewest points in a game since Feb. 1, 1979 against Fredonia State. The Bulls also allowed 47 points fewer in the win over Nazareth than they did three days earlier at Xavier. The 47-point margin between two games is Buffalo's largest since the 1987-88 season when they allowed 125 points to St. Anselm in the season-opener and followed that up by allowing just 67 points in the next game against Queens College.

Easy Blake Oven
Senior Blake Hamilton begins his final season after being one of five players named to the All-MAC East Division squad in the preseason. Hamilton was named to the All-MAC Third Team last season and enters 2016-17 as the Bulls returning leading scorer and rebounder at 13.7 points per game and 7.1 rebounds per contest. Hamilton had a stellar first season with UB in 2015-16, but it will be his shot at the end of the MAC Championship game that will always be remembered by Bulls fans.
Hamilton missed most of the preseason due to a broken non-shooting hand, but he returned to the starting lineup for the regular season opener at Niagara where he had 11 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in 26 minutes of action. Hamilton recorded a career-high 11 assists in the win over Nazareth, the most by a UB player so far this season. He then showed his scoring touch in the opener of the Great Alaska Shootout with a career-high 36 points against Alaska-Anchorage, including 29 of those in the second half. The 36 points are tied for 10th in school history for a single game and the most since current teammate CJ Massinburg had 36 last season against Ohio. The 36 points are also tied for eighth most in a single game in the 38-year history of the Great Alaska Shootout. Hamilton added 23 points and eight rebounds in the win over Weber State and he led all scorers in the Great Alaska Shootout field. Hamilton added 21 points against Creighton and 20 points at St. Bonaventure and he scored over 20 points in four of the six games on the previous road trip.


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