25th-ranked Bulls roll past Ohio

UB dropped a program record 19 three-pointers in a dominant 47-point win over the Bobcats

Jon Simon
February 19, 2019 - 10:12 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports


Just a day after finding out they still held a spot in the AP Top-25 poll, the 25th-ranked University at Buffalo men’s basketball team (23-3, 11-2) cruised passed the Ohio Bobcats (11-14, 3-10) with a 114-67 victory on Tuesday night at Alumni Arena. The 114 points are the most UB has ever scored against a Division-I opponent. 

The Bulls are in the midst of their 15th consecutive week being ranked in the AP Top-25, and Tuesday night’s convincing win may have showed the doubters why they still belong there. 

Bulls head coach Nate Oats joined Howard Simon and Jeremy White on WGR on Tuesday and said the team had been starting games slow as of late, but that wasn’t the case versus the Bobcats. UB came sprinting out of the gate against the last-place team in the Mid-American Conference East division and jumped out to a nine-point lead a little over seven minutes in. However, it was the play on the defensive side that sparked the Bulls' hot start. Nine of Ohio's 15 turnovers came in the first half, two of them in the first four minutes.

“I thought our defensive intensity was a lot better,” Bulls head coach Nate Oats said after the win. “I wasn’t really concentrating so much on the offense tonight, we were talking about getting stops. I thought in the first four minutes our defensive intensity was much better than it had been in previous games.”

Jayvon Graves led the offense in the first half with 19 points in 14 minutes, shooting an impressive 6-for-6 from behind the arc. The sophomore guard finished with a game and career-high 26 points, along with four rebounds and one assist. 

“[Jayvon] had his best game since he’s been here,” Oats said. “The last time he played this well was probably at St. Bonaventure right after his grandfather passed, so I was ecstatic. I tried to run some plays for him early because I thought he had been that great in practice. The first thing I told the team at halftime is ‘practice matters.’ Here’s a kid who’s had the two best practices of his life since he’s been here and now he comes out and plays like this.”

Ohio would go four minutes without scoring a point midway through the first half. Despite only scoring seven points during that stretch, UB would go on a run shortly after to put the game, seemingly, out of reach before halftime.

The Bulls out-scored Ohio 29-13 in the final eight minutes of the first half, a run that started with back-to-back three-pointers from Graves.

“I was struggling the past few games,” Graves admitted post-game. “My teammates found me in the right spots. I just felt confident shooting and playing my game. After the third [three-pointer] fell, I knew it would be a good game for me.”

Davonta Jordan recorded an assist on five of Graves' six three-pointers in the first half. The junior guard finished the night with a game-high nine assists.

UB took a 52-27 lead into the locker room at halftime and never looked back. The Bulls dominated the final 20 minutes from the first whistle, leading by as much as 49 at one point in the half.

CJ Massinburg took over the duties of leading the offense when he began to heat up early in the second frame. The senior guard scored 16 of his 23 points in the second half before checking out of the game for good with 6:29 left. Massinburg also recorded four assists and three rebounds.

UB surpassed the 100-point mark with almost six minutes left in the game following a three-pointer from Graves, reaching triple digits on the scoreboard for the third time this season.

Along with a program-high in points, UB also set the school record for made three-pointers in a game with 19. The 47-point win also marks the largest margin of victory over a D-I team in UB’s history.

The Bulls are back in action on Friday, February 22 when they host Kent State at Alumni Arena at 7 p.m. You can listen to the full game, along with pre-game and post-game coverage on ESPN 1520. The game will also be televised on ESPN2.

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