UB coasts past Marist, improves to 5-0

CJ Massinburg's return and hot shooting from three push the Bulls to victory

Jon Simon
November 24, 2018 - 7:05 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

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The UB Men’s Basketball team improved to 5-0 on Saturday afternoon with a 76-49 win over the Marist Red Foxes at Alumni Arena.

The No. 22 Bulls leading scorer C.J. Massinburg made his return to the lineup after missing last Wednesday’s 110-71 win over Dartmouth. The senior guard sprained his MCL earlier this month and was expected to miss Saturday’s game, along with the Bulls’ upcoming games in Belfast, Northern Ireland on November 30 and December 1.

Massinburg wasn’t in the Bulls’ starting five, but he subbed on to the floor just 3:30 into the game. The Dallas native ended up leading UB in scoring with 21 points in 25 minutes, he also hit six, three-pointers on seven attempts.

“The last few days I thought the injury was going to be worse but I didn’t feel like the injury was as bad as the last time I hurt my MCL,” Massinburg said post-game. “We just took it day-by-day, and today I thought I could go.”

While Massinburg led the charge, UB shot well from three as a group. The Bulls finished the afternoon shooting 50-percent from behind the arc, their best performance through the first five games this season.

A key reason the Bulls’ three-point shooting was better against Marist was because of their passing. Throughout most of the second half UB’s offense showed fantastic ball movement. They were making the extra passes and finding the open shooters, which led to higher-percentage looks and more shots going in. The Bulls hit 10 of their 16 three-pointers in the second half and finished with 20 assists as a team.

“If we don’t get our guy in the paint a touch, we just swing the ball around the perimeter and jack-up a contested three and that’s typically not a good shot for us,” Bulls head coach Nate Oats said after the win. “If we get the ball in the paint and collapse the defense and get kick-out three’s, those go in much more frequently at a much higher rate.”

The Bulls defense also had a strong performance. After a sloppy first 10 minutes the UB defense really tightened things up, holding Marist to seven points over the last nine minutes of the first half. There were also a handful of possessions in the first half where the UB defense ran the shot clock down to it’s final seconds, forcing bad shots, or shot clock violations from the Red Foxes.

UB took a 34-20 lead into the locker room at halftime and didn’t look back in the second frame. The offense found the groove they didn’t have for most of the first half and the defense didn’t let up.

The Bulls’ strong defense also led to quick offense. The Bulls finished the game with 33 rebounds (26 defensive), seven blocks and six steals; and a lot of those plays led to points at the other end. UB outscored Marist in fast break points 23-2 and scored 13 points off turnovers.

UB’s next game will be on Friday, November 30 when they take on Milwaukee in the Belfast Hall of Fame Classic from Northern Ireland, tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 a.m. EST.

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