UMass Lowell, a newcomer to the American East Conference, threw a minor scare into St. Bonaventure on Tuesday night before falling to the Bonnies, 67-58, before a crowd of only 2,860 in the Reilly Center.
The Riverhawks (1-7) ran off 11 straight points at the end of the first half to take a 34-31 lead over the surprised Bonnies (6-2). Chad Holley contributed seven of the points in the run.
The Bonnies, however, started the second half with a 6-0 run with two baskets by Andell Cumberbatch and one by Marquise Simmons, and never trailed again although UMass Lowell hung tough. A 9-0 run over a span of 5:19, which included seven made free throws, gave Bona a 60-48 lead and a little breathing room with 3:28 to play.
Simmons led St. Bonaventure with 19 points. Matthew Wright had 15 and Cumberbatch 13. Akeem Williams (17), Holly (16) and D.J. Mlachnik (16) accounted for all but nine of the Lowell points. Bona dominated the rebounding, 46-30, but made only 1 of 14 three-point shots to 8 of 21 for the visitors. Overall, the Bonnies shot only 33.3 percent (19 of 57) but hit 28 of 34 free throws to 11 of 16 for the Riverhawks.
Cumberbatch and Simmons had 11 rebounds each to lead the winners’ rebounding effort.
UMass Lowell is making the transition from NCAA Division II to Division I.
Bona’s next game will be at 2 on Saturday afternoon against the University at Buffalo in Alumni Arena.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: The St. Bonaventure-at-Canisius game leads the way on a night when all of the Western New York Big 4 teams are in action.
The Bonnies (6-3) come to the Koessler Center for a 7 p.m. game after losses to No. 1 Connecticut (88-39) and defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champion Marist (68-51). Canisius (3-3) also has lost its last two, to Akron (72-56) and the University at Buffalo (68-59).
St. Bonaventure defeated the Griffs, 66-44, a year ago in the Reilly Center to take a 23-22 lead in the all-time series between the schools. Katie Healy (Lancaster) leads Bona in scoring at 13.4 points per game. Senior Jamie Ruttle tops Canisius in scoring at 11.3.
UB (4-2), which scored an impressive 66-62 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday, takes on Saint Francis at 7 p.m. in Alumni Arena. The Bulls must deal with high-scoring Alli Williams of the Red Flash. Williams, a 6-foot senior, is averaging 23 points and 9.2 rebounds a game and has had 40-point (East Tennessee State) and 30-point (Colgate) performances this season. Saint Francis averages 80 points. UB is 3-0 in the series.
Niagara (1-4) will be on the road against Kent State (1-5) in a 5 p.m. game at the Memorial Athletic & Convocation Center in Kent, Ohio. Niagara won last year’s game, 82-55, the first ever between the schools.