UB’s historic season ends with loss to Texas Tech

East High’s Dontay Caruthers (22) collected five rebounds, two steals and an assist in the loss. (Photo: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports)

Courtesy of UBBulls.com

TULSA, OK – The historic season for the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team came to end on Sunday with a 78-58 loss to third-seeded Texas Tech in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Tulsa’s BOK Center. The Bulls ended the 2018-19 campaign with a 32-4 record, the best in school history.

Ranked third in nation in scoring defense, Texas Tech proved it is one of the best defensive teams in the nation as it held the Bulls to a season-low 58 points on just 36 percent shooting from the field. The size and athleticism of the Red Raiders proved too much, especially inside as they outrebounded UB, 45-35, and scored 30 points in paint.

The Red Raiders jumped out to a 19-6 lead, much to the delight of the large Texas Tech contingent on hand. The Bulls settled down, starting forcing turnovers, and battled back. Davonta Jordan rattled home a three-pointer from the corner to give the Bulls their first lead of the game, 25-24, with 3:24 left in the half. However, the lead would be short-lived as the Red Raiders closed the half on a 9-0 scoring run to take a 33-25 lead at the break.

The Bulls struggled to get anything going offensively in the second half. Texas Tech opened the second stanza on an 18-3 scoring to build their lead to 28 points and never looked back.

“Not the way we anticipated ending the season,” head coach Nate Oats said. “You know, try to look at the positives. We got 32 wins. These guys had an unbelievable career. For them to be beat, it’s going to have to be by somebody really tough and Texas Tech is really tough. Got to give them a ton of credit. They took charges, killed us on the glass. I think they had a plus 10 second chance points, plus 9 in points off turnovers. That’s pretty much the game. That’s what we’ve been good at all year, beating people on the glass, turning over, getting out on transition. They did a better job.”

Nick Perkins led the Bulls with a team-high 17 points and 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double in the tournament. Jordan added 13 points, including three three-pointers.

CJ Massinburg, playing in the final game of his career, finished with 14 points. Massinburg finished his career with 1,990 points – second most in school history.

“You know, I told our guys in the locker room don’t let one loss take away what you’ve done this year,” Oats added. “You put Buffalo basketball on the map. Ranked in the top 25 all year. Great team, even better people. I have the highest character group of kids I ever worked with.  Disappointed it ended like this. We wanted to go further. We won’t let one loss define us — we had an unbelievably successful year beyond what anybody could imagine happened here at Buffalo.”

Buffalo’s 32 wins were not only the most in school history, but the most ever by a Mid-American Conference program.

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