Buffalo (16-7) at South Dakota State (21-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 1:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Frost Arena (6,500) -- Brookings, South Dakota. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Buffalo 10-1, SDSU 11-0. Away Record: Buffalo 6-6, SDSU 8-7. Neutral Record: Buffalo 0-0, SDSU 2-0. Conference Record: Buffalo 9-3, SDSU 13-3. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: South Dakota State puts its unbeaten home record on the line today against the Buffalo Bulls in a contest that's part of the annual BracketBusters event. In addition to a perfect 11-0 record at home this season, the Jackrabbits enter this tilt riding a 14-game home winning streak as they face Buffalo for the first time.
Led by junior guard Nate Wolters, the Jackrabbits are coming off a pair of double-digit victories, most recently an 80-57 home triumph over North Dakota State on Wednesday in Summit League play. In that game, Wolters scored 22 points in the first half, and then added eight more in as many minutes in the second half. The Jackrabbits committed a season-low three turnovers and shot 55.8 percent from the field. Wolters missed just four of his 18 shots. Jordan Dykstra scored 15 points. Wolters paces the team with 21.8 ppg and is tied for second in rebounding (5.0 rpg). Dykstra, a sophomore forward, is second in scoring (11.0 ppg) and guard Griffan Callahan (10.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg), the lone senior on the team, is third in scoring. Sophomore guard Brayden Carlson (7.5 ppg) and junior forward Tony Fiegen (7.0 ppg) round out the starting five.
The Bulls will try to bounce back from a 76-71 loss at Kent State on Tuesday night. In that Mid-American Conference clash, Buffalo allowed the Golden Flashes to shoot 59 percent from the field in the second half and make seven three-point shots over the final 20 minutes. That snapped the Bull's eight- game win streak. Zach Filzen led all scorers with 20 points and Mitchell Watt tallied 16 points and nine rebounds. Filzen, a 6-3 senior guard, is averaging 12.1 ppg. He's five three-pointers shy of becoming just the third player in school history to make 200 treys in a career (Michael Martinho, 328; Calvin Cage, 221). Forwards Javon McCrea (15.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Mitchell Watt (15.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg) are a strong pair up front. McCrea leads the MAC in field goal percentage (.585), and Watt is second in blocks per game (2.6). They're part of a team that ranks third in the country in rebounding (41.8 rpg). Before this season, the Bulls had never averaged more than 40 rebounds per game in a season since joining the MAC. Sophomore guard Jarod Oldham (4.4 ppg) leads the league in assists at 6.2 per contest. Swingman Auraum Nuiriankh (3.8 ppg) rounds out the starting five for a team that has made eight or more three- pointers in seven of its last nine games.
Buffalo is participating in the BracketBusters event for the ninth time and sports a 5-3 record. Rebounding and strong inside play should give the Bulls a big boost this afternoon, but one problem they've had this season is free- throw shooting. They've shot less than 50 percent as a team in two of the last three games, which could open the door for the Jackrabbits to remain unbeaten at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Buffalo 73, South Dakota State 72
02/18 10:32:08 ET