What Buffalo players said after beating Arizona to advance to Saturday’s game with Kentucky

Q. Did you feel a little bit like people didn’t understand how good this team really was?
WES CLARK: Definitely. With us being the MAC team it’s easy to look as a team that can’t compete with a high Major or a team that got four NBA prospects, we wouldn’t be able to compete. But we know deep down, watching enough film, looked at things, that our confidence was there. We can play with these guys and play hard.

Q. It was very back and forth in that first half. You guys took over the second half. What were you guys doing to get separation from them?
JEREMY HARRIS: I have to give the credit to our coaches, because it was a great scouting report. And we just followed it for the most part. And did what we’ve been doing all year. That’s it.

Q. You guys came out shooting incredibly in the second half, shot 64.3 percent from the 3-point. How do you explain how you shoot that well from 3-point?
WES CLARK: I think it was simple, you just make the shots no matter who was out there. It’s the same kind of shot, still the same basketball, 18 feet — is it 18 feet?

NATE OATS: 19-9, I believe —

WES CLARK: 20 foot 3-pointer, we had the same confidence and didn’t worry about who was on the defensive end.

JEREMY HARRIS: We’ve been putting in work all year. We always staying after practice, before practice, late at night, just shooting and getting the shots. Since we’ve been here we’ve been in the gym late at night. We had a shoot-around this morning. Same shots we’ve been shooting all year like Wes said.

CJ MASSINBURG: It just shows what type of program we have and what type of guys and coaching staff we have in our program. We are very hard-working guys. Ever since we’ve been here we got here early just to get in the gym, get used to the altitude, and stuff like that. As soon as we got off the plane, went to the hotel, Let’s go hit shots. We just kept pounding it.

Q. When you started you had a small section of Buffalo fans, a small section of Arizona fans, and as it started picking up in the second half, you had about 10,000 fans for Buffalo. Talk about that and the motivation it gave you.
CJ MASSINBURG: It was amazing. I noticed it at first, when we first got there, we heard our Buffalo fans, then we went on a run. The whole arena started erupting. It felt amazing so I guess with Wes Clark there, they thought we were handsome and they got behind us.

JEREMY HARRIS: The same thing as CJ said. We had a little section and then by the end of the game it seemed like we were in the arena in Buffalo.

WES CLARK: Man, you know, it’s the same. It’s just the same feeling. We just took it one play at a time. Everybody likes a nice, hard-working team. So we just embraced that and tried to play as hard as we can.

Q. One of the things I noticed about your style of play is that you know exactly what you wanted to do and you stay with it. Where do you get that? Arizona made a nice little comeback, down 2 going into halftime. They went in a little bit, and then you took over from there. Where do you get the relentlessness from?
CJ MASSINBURG: Man, it comes from the man at the end of the table. He has the utmost confidence in all his players. We just came in feeling like we belong there. We belong at this stage. He’s not scared of anything, and he puts that into us. And we follow his lead. He’s a relentless person.

JEREMY HARRIS: I have to say the same thing. Coach is probably the most competitive coach I’ve ever played for. He wants his players to go out and play the game. If you’re a 3-point shooter, he wants you to shoot 3s every time. If you’re a driver, same. Credit to Coach Oats.

Q. You guys busted a lot of brackets tonight. How does that make you all feel?
JEREMY HARRIS: That’s pretty amazing, I can’t even sit up here and lie (laughter).

Yeah, we did bust a lot of brackets. We kind of knew that we could play with them. So we went out there with a game plan. We’re really happy.

Q. You were here two years ago when this team lost. So what’s it like to be a part of winning the first tournament game, with this being your first ever NCAA Tournament?
CJ MASSINBURG: Oh, man, it feels good. Yeah, like you say, we came here two years ago, we felt like we could have got that one. That one came down to the last four or five minutes. We just carried over that experience. We did get up on Arizona like maybe 6 or 4 or something like that, we’ve got to put our foot on the gas. We just carried that experience over to here.

JEREMY HARRIS: Wes and I were talking late last night — I won’t tell you the time, because Coach might get mad — we couldn’t sleep because we were so excited to play. And it’s amazing. March Madness is amazing.

WES CLARK: This is a great opportunity for us. We watch it on TV every year. But for us to be in this type of tournament it was a great opportunity. We wanted to embrace it. We couldn’t sleep, like he said. We were up all night, thinking about the game, watching film, and thinking about what we had to do to get a W.

CJ MASSINBURG: President Barack Obama, he picked Arizona to beat us. And I just want to say, President Obama, I’m sorry, but I had to (laughter).

WES CLARK: Should have chose the handsome guys. (Laughter.)

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  1. Buffalo is a scary team. UK better tighten their sneakers. From what I saw, UK would have been better off facing Arizona. These guys from Buffalo can flat out ball.

    1. Buffalo is physical and they can shoot. I doubt they are going to shoot 64% from 3 again but they can shoot. The Cats know what to expect…this will be a lot like playing a motivated TN. I see foul trouble for our bigs if we don’t play zone. I hope Vando dresses for the game as an emergency reserve…we sure don’t want Knox guarding their center. This game is winnable, but it can be lost if we play like we did in the second half against Davidson.

  2. Buffalo is the kind of team that makes the tournament so interesting. I hope our Cats are ready.

  3. I would rather play Arizona. This team could now feel they are on a mission and that is very dangerous. Really reminded me of a better shooting Tennessee team. Some of those boys are really thick, but UK just needs to make sure they run them off the 3-point line and make them take tough 2’s.

  4. Arizona is over rated by most folks. PAC first major conference to not get a single win in the first round.

    Buffalo is weaker than Davidson, and weaker than Arizona. Granted, Buffalo and Arizona had a convergence of circumstances last night that rarely occur, and Arizona simply quite when down 10 with 9 to play last night. That is shame on them, not credit to Buffalo.

    Cats will beat Buffalo by 10 or more.

    1. Hope you are right , but from what I saw, UK better come prepared to battle, because if that game last night against Arizona is any indication, Buffalo will. Buffalo is one of the best teams I have seen play this year, bar none. If UK plays this game like they did in the second half against Davidson, they will be going back to Lexington a loser. UK must control the glass, defend the three point shot, and make some long range shots themselves. We will see.

      1. Marshall doesn’t look too shabby either..seeing a lot of good, big men on display last couple of days and wondering why we haven’t connected last 2 yrs.

  5. I just hope they can pulled it off, so I can see them in Alanta next week. GO CATS!!

  6. My view of Buffalo:

    ANE: 0.114 points per possession, which ranks #71 in the nation.

    SOS: -0.010 ppp which is one of the weakest schedules in the NCAA Field

    Inexplicable losses: To #210 Kent St. by 3, To #248 Northern Illinois by 2, and to #192 Miami, OH by 3.

    Best Win: (Prior to last night) over #108 UAB by 5 in OT.

    Yes, they caught lightning in a bottle last night, and good for them, but especially better for UK.

    A single game does not define any team. This UK team is defined by its season record, and yes their last 9 games have been played at a higher level. That is also good for UK.

    UK needs to go out, play its game, and finish the job they traveled to Idaho to do, and this is nothing more than the second game of a two game gig.
    Tue Feb 20 85 192 Miami OH L, 84-81 75 Away

  7. Arizona was overrated – Probably deserved a 6 seed & not a 4. However Buffalo & Marshall are probably among the 5 ” worst” teams in the field this year – Based on their “Body of work”. I recognize that one of those 5 “Worst” teams just gave Auburn all it could handle. Anything can happen – I’m just not going to cancel my Hotel reservations just yet. I’ll agree with Professor.

  8. Another of those 5 “Worst” teams that I mentioned is now leading UVA by 7 -Go figure.
    But does that put UMBC in contention?

    1. All UMBC needed was my comment.
      Looks like I’m now qualified to work for ESPN or CBS.

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