No. 23 Buffalo looks to rebound vs. Central Michigan

CJ Massinburg and Buffalo have not had much issue on offense this season, however the team's recent play at the other end of the court has left a bit to be desired in the eyes of the senior guard.

The 23rd-ranked Bulls look to rebound from their second loss in four games on Saturday afternoon when they host Central Michigan in a Mid-American Conference clash.

Massinburg erupted for 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field and made four of his first five 3-point attempts before his shot from beyond the arc in the waning moments caromed off the rim in a 92-88 setback at Bowling Green on Feb. 1.

The Bulls (19-3, 7-2 Mid-American Conference) sit one game behind Bowling Green in the league's East Division heading into their tilt with the Chippewas (16-6, 5-4), who are bidding to win their third consecutive game on the heels of a three-game losing skid.

While Massinburg scored 19 points in the second half against Bowling Green, he took issue with his team's defense that allowed the Falcons to overcome an eight-point deficit at intermission. Buffalo was torched for 53 points in the final 20 minutes, the most it has given up in the second half of a game this season.

"It's the same things we've been talking about the past few weeks," the 6-foot-3 Massinburg said, according to the Buffalo News. "We need to improve on our turnovers - we had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio (versus Bowling Green) - and just getting stops. I feel like our offense flowed. A lot of guys were shooting the ball well, but we have to get back to defense.

"... We're a team that prides itself on defense, and that's not pride in defense."

The Bulls have committed at least 12 turnovers in five of their last six games -- with 18 coming against the Falcons.

"It's hard to win games when you turn over the ball 18 times, at this level," Buffalo coach Nate Oats said.

Massinburg is producing a team-best 18.4 points per contest, while guard Jeremy Harris (13.9) and forward Nick Perkins (13.7) are averaging in double figures for the Bulls, who begin a pivotal stretch on Saturday. They play seven MAC East teams in their final nine regular-season games.

Harris drilled four 3-pointers and finished with 22 points in Buffalo's 88-82 win over Central Michigan last season. Massinburg connected on three shots from long range and scored 18 points, while Perkins chipped in with 13 in that victory.

Central Michigan's Larry Austin Jr. was named the MAC West Player of the Week for the third time this season after he averaged 17.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists in the Chippewas' victories over Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan.

The senior guard notched his fifth career double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds in Central Michigan's 85-64 win over Western Michigan on Saturday.

"We feed off of Larry," Chippewas coach Keno Davis said, according to the Central Michigan Life. "Nobody wants to win more than him. There's another gear, another level out there. Larry's getting a lot out of his ability."

Austin has averaged a team-best 17.6 points and 5.7 assists.

Central Michigan senior guard Shawn Roundtree (15.5 points per game), erupted for 20 in last year's loss to Buffalo. Junior forward David DiLeo was limited to 12 points after making just two of his 10 3-point attempts.

--Field Level Media

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