Massinburg returns to lead No. 22 Buffalo over Marist 76-49
AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) — As quick to shoot as any team in the country, Buffalo takes pride in its willingness to put in extra time on defense.
“We are built on defense here,” coach Nate Oats said. “We are built on toughness.”
CJ Massinburg scored 21 points, Jayvon Graves added 16 and No. 22 Buffalo brushed off Marist’s attempt to slow the pace in a 76-49 victory on Saturday.
Buffalo averaged more than 88 points over its first four wins, and only Villanova scored in the 80s more times last season. The Bulls matched a school record for points in a Division I game in Wednesday’s 110-71 defeat of Dartmouth.
“We knew they were going to try to slow it down,” Oats said. “Everybody does it. Nobody wants to try to run with us so everybody is going to try to run as much clock as we can. I would hate to play like that as a player. That’s why I don’t coach like that. But that might be the best way for them to try and get a win.”
Massinburg returned after missing one game with a sprained knee. The senior guard leads Buffalo in scoring at 20.5 points per game. He got hurt in practice Monday and was expected to be out at least a week.
“We just took it day by day and today I felt like I could go,” Massinburg said. “I wouldn’t say I felt 100 percent but I didn’t feel bad. I would say about 85.”
Massinburg’s shooting percentage was almost as high as he made 6 of 7 attempts from 3-point range and was 7 of 10 from the field in 25 minutes off the bench.
Jeremy Harris had eight assists and Nick Perkins pulled down seven rebounds for the Bulls (5-0).
Buffalo found its 3-point range, making 16 of 32 from beyond the arc after shooting below 28 percent from deep over its first four games.
Ryan Funk and Austin Williams each scored 10 points to lead Marist (1-4).
Holding Marist under 41 percent shooting and forcing 16 turnovers, Buffalo scored 23 points on fast breaks.
“I thought we did a really nice job when they had to play against our set defense,” Marist coach John Dunne said. “But once you have a bad offensive possession and they get you on your heels in transition, then they are just really good. That’s where they crushed us.”
Marist led early while Buffalo struggled with turnovers and scored on only seven of its first 21 possessions. Buffalo pulled ahead with a 10-2 run and outscored Marist 23-7 over the final nine minutes of the first half to build a double-digit lead.
Buffalo: Making their AP Top 25 debut last week following a win at then-No. 13 West Virginia, the Bulls have won their first five games for the first time since joining Division I in 1994-95. The last 5-0 start came in 1986-87 when Buffalo was in Division III.
Marist: After finishing at the bottom of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference the past four seasons, the Red Foxes are finding their way under new coach John Dunne, who spent the past 12 years with MAAC rival Saint Peter’s.
Buffalo moved up three spots to No. 22 this week and did nothing to give voters reason to move the Bulls down in beating Dartmouth and Marist by an average of 33 points.
Marist was called for four offensive fouls in the first half.
Marist’s leading scorer Brian Parker scored three points and did not make a field goal in 11 minutes. Parker averaged 17.8 points through the first four games.
Both teams visit Northern Ireland for tournament games in the Belfast Hall of Fame Classic. Marist will meet Dartmouth on Thursday and Buffalo plays Milwaukee on Friday.