Bulls have MAC quar­ter­fi­nal mati­nee

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS -

Tip-off: 2:30 p.m., Wednes­day, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleve­land. TV: ESPN+

Ra­dio: ESPN 1520.

Records: No. 4 Buf­falo 20-9 vs. No. 5 Kent State 19-11.

Last time out: The Bulls and Golden Flashes faced each other just last Satur­day at the M.A.C. Cen­ter in Kent, Ohio. Kent State won 62-53, hold­ing UB to its low­est-scor­ing game of the sea­son. UB was limited to 20 field goals, just four 3-point­ers and a 38.5 field goal per­cent­age. While UB had a bye, Kent State de­feated Bowl­ing Green, 86-62, at home on Mon­day in the first round of the MAC tour­na­ment.

His­tory: Kent State owns a 2817 ad­van­tage in the ri­valry with

UB. How­ever, UB is 13-2 against the Golden Flashes since Fel­isha Legette-Jack be­came the Bulls’ coach in 2012-13, in­clud­ing the first nine. Un­der coach Todd Starkey, Kent State is 1-4 against UB. In

MAC tour­na­ment games, UB is 2-2 against Kent State in­clud­ing a 72-50 tri­umph in the 2018 quar­ter­fi­nals in Cleve­land.

Of­fense vs. de­fense: UB is aver­ag­ing 74.4 points a game, which ranks third in the MAC and 26th in the na­tion. The Bulls have scored 80 or more points 11 times in­clud­ing six times over 90. They are 9-2 when they score 80 or more. Kent State is lim­it­ing op­po­nents to 61.3 points a game, third in the MAC and its 37.5 de­fen­sive field goal per­cent­age is first in the con­fer­ence.

On the boards: UB is sec­ond in the con­fer­ence with 41.2 re­bounds per MAC game. Ju­nior Sum­mer Hem­phill is sec­ond in the MAC with a 10.4 re­bound av­er­age in con­fer­ence games. UB is 15-4 in games where it’s won the re­bound­ing.

The Trea­sure of Cierra: UB se­nior Cierra Dil­lard was named first team All-MAC this week. Hem­phill was a sec­ond team choice. Both Dil­lard and Hem­phill had be­low-par per­for­mances in last week’s loss to Kent State. Dil­lard, who av­er­ages 25.3, was held to 18 points by the Golden Flashes, only the fourth time all sea­son she was un­der 20. Hem­phill had no field goals and four points. Dil­lard made only 12 of 44 field goal tries, 5 for 24, in the last two games.

Turn­ing it over: UB forces 19.3 turnovers a game, sec­ond in the MAC and 41st in the NCAA.

Flashy Flashes: Kent State had no first team All-MAC se­lec­tions but ju­nior guard Megan Carter was a third team se­lec­tion, fresh­man guard Asiah Din­gle made the MAC All-Fresh­man team and se­nior guard Alexa Golden made the MAC All-De­fen­sive team. Carter av­er­ages 15.9 points, Din­gle 13.1 and had 76 steals. Lind­sey Thall, a 6-2 fresh­man, is Kent’s top 3-point shoot­ing threat. She leads the team with 59 made threes and a .410 per­cent­age from out­side the arc. Dil­lard’s .346 per­cent­age on threes is UB’s best.

Dance card: No. 1 seed Cen­tral Michi­gan is the de­fend­ing MAC Tour­na­ment cham­pion and the fa­vorite to re­ceive the con­fer­ence’s au­to­matic bid to the NCAA Tour­na­ment. The Chippe­was de­feated UB in the cham­pi­onship game last year, but the Bulls re­ceived an at-large bid to the NCAAs and ad­vanced as far as the Sweet Six­teen with wins over Florida State and South Florida. Bar­ring an early exit from the con­fer­ence tour­na­ment, UB would seem to be an at-large can­di­date should it fail to gain the au­to­matic bid.

Next: The UB-Kent State win­ner will the face the win­ner of Wednes­day’s first quar­ter­fi­nal game be­tween No. 1 Cen­tral Michi­gan and No. 9 Eastern Michi­gan at 11 a.m. on Fri­day.

Harry Scull Jr./Buf­falo News

Univer­sity at Buf­falo for­ward Sum­mer Hem­phill is aver­ag­ing a dou­ble-dou­ble this sea­son.

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