“It’s March, win time.”
Nate Oats sat at the postgame podium with the same look he had last year at this time. The “I knew we were going to win look”.
For the second straight year UB faced a Pac-12 team from Arizona and for the second straight year they put together a dominant performance advancing to the 2nd round.
It wasn’t easy early, the Bulls and Sun Devils traded punches and it was tied 14-14 with 11:44 left in the first half.
Following a TV timeout, UB went on a 17-5 run to take a 31-19 lead and they never led by less than 9 points rest of the way.
“We kind of settled in there after about the first 8 minutes on defense and forced some tough shots,” Oats said. “You know, I told these guys coming in, if we can get our turnovers down and win the rebounding battle, I think we’ll win.”
The battle of the boards belonged to the Bulls 42-26. Nick Perkins and Jeremy Harris grabbed 10 rebounds each.
“We dominated them on the glass, which was big because we were undersized. They were definitely
bigger than us,” Oats said.
Perkins and Harris also scored 21 points each and CJ Massinburg chipped in 18 points.
Midway through the 2nd half Bobby Hurley stood with his arms folded in front of the Arizona State bench watching his former team and former assistant coach dismantle the Sun Devils.
The former Bulls boss heaped praise on Oats and his team following the game. “They have a bunch of seniors that have been to the tournament, that have won championships, so they expect to win. It’s no accident they’ve won 32 games.”
Can they make it 33 wins on Sunday? I wouldn’t bet against it.