No. 16 Buffalo home for EMU rematch
Buffalo manhandled Eastern Michigan two weeks ago. The underdog Eagles get another chance to knock off the powerful Bulls on Friday.
The 16th-ranked Bulls opened their Mid-American Conference season with a 74-58 victory at Eastern Michigan. Buffalo will have the home court advantage this time.
In the first meeting, the Bulls shot 50 percent and held the Eagles to 33.3 percent shooting. Buffalo also had a decided advantage in paint points (38 to 22), bench scoring (27 to 9), and points off turnovers (20 to 6).
"You have to make sure when you get an opportunity, Division I players have to make open shots," Eastern Michigan coach Rob Murphy said shortly after that game. "We didn't make open shots. I thought that was the difference in the game."
The Eagles played top-ranked Duke and Kansas during their non-conference season but they were even more hyped up for the defending MAC champions.
"We were more excited playing Buffalo than when we played Duke, in my opinion," senior forward James Thompson IV said.
Since that game, Eastern Michigan (8-9 overall, 2-2 MAC) has recorded victories over Ball State and Kent State and dropped a 51-49 decision to Akron.
The Eagles missed two layups in the last six seconds against the Zips. Eastern Michigan outscored Akron 34-16 in the paint and had a 35-25 rebounding advantage but shot just 3-for-15 from long range. Eastern Michigan is shooting 29.4 percent from long range this season.
The Bulls (16-1, 4-0) got a rugged challenge from Western Michigan on Tuesday but pulled out an 88-79 victory.
Senior swingman Jeremy Harris led the way with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Harris has led the team in scoring three consecutive games, averaging 24.3 points during that span.
A 3-pointer by CJ Massinburg served as a dagger for the Broncos, who are winless in conference play.
"It's as close as we've had in a while," Bulls coach Nate Oats told the Buffalo News. "It's not the worst thing we've had happen to us, but we've got to fix some stuff. We're not headed in the right direction. We've got to start playing better on defense to start the game. Our rebounding's got to get better, and they were killing us on the glass early, which has been a problem with us lately. They came out and played hard, most of the game."
Senior forward Nick Perkins, who contributed 14 points, concurred with his coach.
"We've got to stay hungry," Perkins told the News. "We've got to get back to the drawing board, fix our rebounding and fix some other stuff from there."
Massinburg continues to lead Buffalo in scoring at 16.9 points per game. Harris has lifted his season average to 15.6 ppg and Perkins is third at 13.8 ppg. They are also the team's top rebounders, combining for 20.5 per game.
Senior forward Elijah Minnie leads the Eagles at 13.9 ppg, closely followed by senior guard Paul Jackson (13.3). Thompson is averaging a double-double at 10.9 ppg and 10.3 rpg.
--Field Level Media
Copyright 2019 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.
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