BOISE, Idaho — The beauty of March Madness, is that on any given night, anyone can be beaten … Buffalo Bulls head coach Nate Oats knew his team had a fair chance at winning on Thursday night after upsetting No. 4 Arizona 89-68 in the South Region on Thursday night.
“I can’t say enough about our guys, just fought and battled,” head coach Nate Oats said. “I felt like we had a shot; I didn’t think we were going to win it like that. I really felt like we were going to win this game. I like our guard play, I said it from day one.”
The 27-8 Buffalo Bulls, utilized its quickness on the perimeter to disect Arizona’s defense, penetrating the heart of its opponent leading to easy kickouts to shooters and shots in the painted area.
The 13th-seeded Bulls were led by Clark who finished with 25 points and seven assists. Jeremy Harris had 23 points and seven rebounds. C.J. Massinburg scored 19 points, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Buffalo shot 55 percent from the field, 15-of-30 from three-point range while holding the Wildcats to just 2-of-18 from downtown. The Bulls outrebounded the Wildcats, 32-31,
The victory marked the first in the men’s basketball program history for the Bulls.
“With us being a MAC team, it’s easy to look at us as a team that can’t compete with a high-major, a team that has four NBA prospects,” Clark said. “We know deep down from looking at the film and getting our confidence right that we could play with those guys. We came and played hard.”
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) 16 mars 2018
Pac-12 player of the year Deandre Ayton finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Nick Perkins scored all of his 13 points in the second half.
Arizona was the last of the conference’s three teams still in the bracket. It’s the first time since 1996-97 a school from the six major conferences failed to send a team to the round of 32.
“They overwhelmed us in the second half, on offense and defense,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said.
The Bulls will now play the 5th-seeded Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday afternoon. Coach Calipari and the Wildcats defeated 12th-seeded Davidson, 78-73, in their first-round game. Tipoff is slated for 5:15 pm EST.
Reported by Adrian Mitchell for Woodlawn Post Sports