No. 14 Buffalo's goal at Northern Illinois: limit turnovers

It's been going so good for No. 14 Buffalo that it is becoming harder for Bulls coach Nate Oats to find fault with anything his team is doing.

But following a 77-65 home win over Eastern Michigan, Oats did manage to find one topic that drew his ire: Turnovers.

Buffalo committed 16 turnovers in the win, which followed up the 14 turnovers the Bulls committed in a Jan. 15 win at Western Michigan. Buffalo hopes to be more responsible with the basketball on Tuesday when it travels to Northern Illinois.

Buffalo is still committing only 11.4 turnovers per game, which ranked 35th in the country after Sunday's games. The Bulls committed a combined 11 turnovers in wins over Toledo on Jan. 8 and Miami (Ohio) on Jan. 12.

But Oats didn't hesitate to lament the miscues against Eastern Michigan.

"If you take away our turnovers, we played a really good game," Oats said. "But we had way too many turnovers and we have to get that problem fixed."

Buffalo (17-1, 5-0 MAC) enters on a six-game winning streak following its only loss of the season on Dec. 21 at Marquette. Buffalo enters tied with Bowling Green atop the Mid-American Conference East standings.

The Bulls remain one of the country's highest scoring teams, averaging 85.6 points a game.

Senior guard CJ Massinburg continues to lead the Bulls in scoring at 17.8 points a game, with senior guard Jeremy Harris averaging 14.9 points.

Senior forward Nick Perkins is averaging 14.4 points and 7.1 rebounds a game for Buffalo.

"Our team is very good that I wonder, who do they focus on and who do they scout on?" Massinburg said in the Buffalo News following the win over Eastern Michigan. "We usually have one to two guys we focus on, but our team's so good I don't even know who they focus on."

One player Buffalo will have to focus on against Northern Illinois is Eugene German, a junior guard who is second in the MAC with a scoring average of 20.7 points per game.

Senior Levi Bradley is averaging 15.8 points a game for Northern Illinois, which is coming off a 78-68 loss at Kent State on Saturday.

Northern Illinois (10-8, 3-2) is in the thick of a jumbled race in the MAC West.

Northern Illinois comes in tied with Toledo and Central Michigan atop the MAC West but is on a two-game losing streak following a loss at home to Central Michigan and the defeat at Kent State.

It goes without saying that an upset of the conference's best team would give the Huskies a signature moment to signal they aren't far from becoming one of the MAC's best.

"Our motto here is, 'We've got to come up and play with great energy and great effort,'" coach Mark Montgomery said to the Detroit News in late December. "We like to blitz and break, get out and play fast."

This will be the only regular-season meeting of the season between the teams and just the second time since 1993 that Northern Illinois has hosted a ranked team.

--Field Level Media

Copyright 2019 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

Our Latest Stories