Buffalo Basketball had their most successful season in school history last season. Guard CJ Massinburg returns to take them even farther in 2018.
In any other year, the Buffalo Bulls’ first-round annihilation of a tournament favorite Arizona would’ve been the biggest upset of the tournament. However, last year it was just another in a list of many upsets that took place. Coach Nate Oats’ team beat the Wildcats by 21 in the first round, and after halftime of that game, the deficit felt a lot larger than 21.
Last month I mentioned the Bulls as a team that could pull off a run in the NCAA Tournament, much like Loyola did this past season. Buffalo returns its top three scorers, who will be seniors, including leading scorer and stat stuffer CJ Massinburg.
Massinburg had 19 points and 6 rebounds in the upset of Arizona, he was deadly from beyond the arc hitting on a team-high five 3-pointers. He followed that up with an 18-point, eight rebound effort as the Bulls fell to Kentucky in the 2nd round.
From the beginning, when Massinburg arrived on campus in 2015 he made an immediate impact. As a freshman, he averaged over 11 points per game and four rebounds, good enough to earn a spot on the All-Mac Freshman Team. He scored a career-high 36 points in a win over Ohio, it was the most points ever scored by a Bull freshman.
The 6-3 guard from Dallas, Texas has always been a tremendous rebounder for his size. As a sophomore Massinburg tallied four double-doubles, all of which came in league play, including a 15-point and 12-rebound effort in the Mid-American quarterfinals as Kent State ended Buffalo’s bid for a MAC Tournament three-peat. Massinburg missed the first eight games of his sophomore campaign due to mononucleosis, despite that he improved all three of his major offensive categories; 14.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.8 rebounds.
In his junior season, Massinburg took another step forward. The South Oak Cliff High School graduate not only led the Bulls in scoring at 17 points per game, he also led the Bulls in rebounding at 7.3 per game. The seven rebounds were good enough for seventh in the MAC in that category. He grabbed a career-high 14 boards in an early-season win over Delaware. He tallied nine double-doubles last season which put him in a tie for 82nd in the country. The diminutive Massinburg led the Bulls to a sweep of the Mid-American with a regular-season and tournament championships, it was their third tournament title in four years.
If the Bulls are to make it four out of five in the MAC and possibly make a Loyola-like run, it will be Massinburg who will undoubtedly lead the way.