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Bulls claim first ever NCAA Tournament win, stunning Arizona 89-68

U.B. will play Kentucky in the Round of 32 on Saturday

March 16, 2018 - 12:15 am

Nick Lozanovski reporting:

It is only the first day of the NCAA Tournament, but it may already be the upset of the tournament.

The 13th seeded University at Buffalo men's basketball team has stunned the nation, dominating the fourth-seeded Arizona Wildcats on Thursday in Boise, Idaho. The Bulls' 89-68 victory is the first tournament win in program history, and the first for a MAC team since Ohio upset Michigan in 2012. U.B. will play the fifth-seeded Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday afternoon with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.

Wes Clark and Jeremy Harris led the way for the Bulls, combining for 48 points on 20-of-34 shooting from the field.

Arizona star players Deandre Ayton and Alonzo Trier struggled, combining for only 24 points on 10-of-28 shooting.

The story of the game for the Bulls was their outside shooting, as they shot 15-of-30 (50%) from three point range. The Bulls did not attempt a free-throw in the first half, relying on outside shooting and transition layups to generate offense. The hot shooting allowed the Bulls to open up holes inside the paint, causing stress to the Arizona defense all evening.

The decisive blow came from Nick Perkins, who struggled in the first half, as a three-point attempt bounced off the front of the rim and in to extend the Bulls' lead to 18 points at 75-58. The Bulls continued to hammer three-point baskets, extending the lead to 25 points at one point as Wes Clark confidently nailed a three-pointer from the top of the arc.

Arizona struggled with the pace that the Bulls played at, with Bulls players taking advantage of pace to get baskets inside between Arizona's two seven-foot tall forwards, Trier and Ayton. The Wildcats shot 2-of-18 from three-point range, highlighting the struggles that the Wildcats had with the Bulls' active defensive approach. 

The Bulls and Wildcats are expected to tip-off around 5:15 p.m. on Saturday in Boise. Kentucky beat Davidson 78-73 on Thursday, without hitting a three-pointer in the win.

Be sure to catch all of the action on our sister station, ESPN 1520, with Josh Whetzel on the call.

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