CALGARY, Alb. — Last season, the Buffalo Bulls turned some heads with their run through the MAC Tournament and into the field of 68 in the NCAA Tournament.
While it’s a new season, the Bulls are turning heads once again as March is fast approaching.
Coming into the year, it looked as though the Ohio Bobcats were the clear favourite in the MAC. When forward Antonio Campbell went down with a season-ending injury last month, the conference race became wide open.
The Akron Zips had emerged as a top contender for the title, and despite their first conference loss this past week, the Zips are three games ahead of anyone else in the MAC.
Several teams are on the rise ,and one of those teams is Buffalo. The Bulls lost to the Zips by a single point last week, but they came back in a big way this past week.
The play of senior Blake Hamilton was a big factor in the Bulls’ two victories. Hamilton put the team on his back and put together back-to-back 20+ point performances to help get Buffalo back to .500 in conference play.
For his efforts over the past week, a seven-day stretch that saw the Bulls knock off a tough opponent at home, then score a 27-point win on the road over the weekend, senior forward Blake Hamilton has been named the College Court Report Player of the Week for the week of January 30 – February 5, 2017!
After two losses in the week prior, Hamilton and the Bulls had two big opportunities this past week to knock off teams who had a strong chance of taking home the MAC title.
Up first, the Bulls welcomed the Central Michigan Chippewas to town, who boast the nation’s leading scorer in Marcus Keene.
Keene scored 24 points against the Bulls, but Buffalo would hold down home court with a 10-point win over Central Michigan, 101-91. The Bulls had five players score in double-figures, led by Hamilton’s game-high 27 points.
In 36 minutes of court time, Hamilton flirted with a triple-double in the win. To go along with his 27 points, he finished the game with 11 rebounds and 8 assists for an all-round big performance for the Bulls. Hamilton shot 10-of-19 from the floor on the night, and 3-of-7 from three point range.
Three nights later, the Bulls went on the road on Friday night to close out their week with another tough game.
Buffalo paid a visit to Munice, IN for a date with the Ball State Cardinals. Behind 11 three pointers as a team, the Bulls cruised past the Cardinals, 96-69. Once again, Hamilton was at the forefront of the Bulls’ offensive attack.
On 9-of-15 shooting from the field, and 2-of-5 from three point range, Hamilton scored a game-high 25 points to pace four Buffalo players who scored in double-figures. He also added 4 rebounds and dished out 8 assists for the second straight game.
For the week, the 6’6” senior averaged 26.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 8.0 assists per contest. Hamilton shot a combined 19-of-34 (55.9%) from the floor, 5-of-12 (41.7%) from three point range, and 9-of-11 (81.8%) from the free throw line.
The one knock on Hamilton this past week was his ball security. He committed nine turnovers on the week, including six in the win over the Chippewas.
Despite the turnovers, Hamilton was extremely effective in all aspects of his game over the Bulls’ two wins. Stretching back to last week’s game against Akron, Hamilton has scored at least 25 points in each of his last three games,
Hamilton is heating up at just the right time, and that’s great news for the Bulls. Once again, you can’t count out Nate Oats and the Buffalo Bulls in the race for the MAC title.
For his efforts this past week, where the native of Pasadena, CA averaged 26 points per contest across the Bulls’ two wins, senior forward Blake Hamilton has been named the College Court Report Player of the Week for the week of January 30 – February 5, 2017!
– T. Bennett
Jan. 23 – 29, 2017: T.J. Cline, Richmond Spiders
Jan. 16 – 22, 2017: Jacob Wiley, Eastern Washington Eagles
Jan. 16 – 22, 2017: Dallas Moore, North Florida Ospreys
Jan. 9 – 15, 2017: Jahad Thomas, UMass-Lowell River Hawks
Jan. 2 – 8, 2017: Ryan Taylor, Marshall Thundering Herd
Dec. 26, 2016 – Jan. 1, 2017: DeAndre Harris, Nicholls Colonels
Dec. 19 – 25, 2016: DeWayne Russell, Grand Canyon Antelopes
Dec. 12 – 18, 2016: Ian Baker, New Mexico State Aggies
Nov. 28 – Dec, 4, 2016: Jaylen Adams, St. Bonaventure Bonnies
Nov. 21 – 27, 2016: Marquise Moore, George Mason Patriots
Nov. 14 – 20, 2016: Eric Mika, BYU Cougars
Nov. 11 – 13, 2016: Jairus Lyles, UMBC Retrievers
**College Court Report Player of the Week recipients are selected from teams in the following conferences:
America East, Atlantic Sun, Atlantic 10, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Conference USA, Horizon League, Ivy League, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot League, Southern, Southland, Summit League, SWAC, Sun Belt, West Coast, and WAC