Stars laid foun­da­tion for UB’s fu­ture

Oats will be forced to coach Bulls for first time with­out Mass­in­burg, Perkins next sea­son

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS - By Rachel Lenzi

TULSA, Okla. — Univer­sity at Buf­falo men’s bas­ket­ball coach Nate Oats pointed to his left at a pair of play­ers who be­came the foun­da­tion of the Bulls’ most suc­cess­ful sea­son ever.

He con­sid­ered what CJ Mass­in­burg and Nick Perkins, two of Oats’ first re­cruits, did to help build the pro­gram and to set a stan­dard.

Then Oats, who took over in 2015, re­al­ized he has to fig­ure out what to do with­out Mass­in­burg and Perkins, who will grad­u­ate af­ter help­ing the Bulls com­plete their most his­toric sea­son.

“Th­ese two guys right here, I’ve coached I don’t know how many Divi­sion 1 games,” Oats said Sun­day, af­ter a 78-58 loss to Texas Tech in the sec­ond round of the NCAA Tour­na­ment. “Ev­ery sin­gle one I’ve coached, I’ve had th­ese two. I haven’t coached one with­out th­ese two. It will be dif­fer­ent for me. I love th­ese two guys. They mean ev­ery­thing to me over last four years. They’ve done a great job set­ting the ta­ble for the young guys, show­ing them how to work, how to play, how to be un­selfish.”

With Mass­in­burg at guard and Perkins in the paint, the Bulls won their fourth Mid-Amer­i­can Con­fer­ence Tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship, reached the NCAA Tour­na­ment for the fourth time and set a MAC

Getty Images

CJ Mass­in­burg, left, and Nick Perkins helped es­tab­lish the foun­da­tion of UB’s most suc­cess­ful sea­son in school his­tory.

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