Sophomore guard LaMonte Bearden led the way with 23 points and the University at Buffalo led all the way in a 90-78 victory over Northern Illinois Tuesday night in DeKalb, Ill.
The victory by UB (13-9, 6-3 MAC) coupled with Kent State’s 88-61 loss at Central Michigan put UB into a tie with the Golden Flashes for second place in the East Division of the Mid-American Conference men’s basketball standings. Northern Illinois (16-6, 5-4) fell out of first place in the MAC West with the loss and the Central Michigan win.
The Bulls had the upper hand all the way in a game that was marred by 61 fouls, 31 by UB and 30 by the losing Huskies. Three UB players fouled out as did one NIU player. In all, there were 84 free throws attempted in the game with 62 made. UB was 32 of 44 at the line while NIU was 30 of 40.
UB had a 47-41 lead at the half. Northern cut the margin to 47-46. Then the Bulls went on an 11-0 run that proved decisive. Bearden had six of those points and Nick Perkins had five.
The Bulls maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
Bearden made nine of his 10 free throws. CJ Massinburg added 16 points, Willie Conner and Perkins had 14 each. Bearden also had seven rebounds and seven assists.
Marshawn Wilson had 25 points and center Marin Maric scored 19 with 11 rebounds for the Huskies.
Next for UB will be a Saturday afternoon home game against Eastern Michigan, which defeated the Bulls, 81-69, on Jan. 12 in Ypsilanti, Mich.
St. Bonaventure’s men will face one of their toughest remaining road challenges in the Atlantic 10 Conference when it faces Saint Joseph’s (18-3, 7-1 A-10) Wednesday night (7 p.m. Radio 95.7 FM and 1450 AM) in Michael J. Hagan Arena in Philadelphia.
The Hawks have won seven in a row and 14 of their last 15. The loss in that stretch was at home to first-place VCU, 85-82, on Jan. 5.
Bona has won seven of the last 10 games in the rivalry with the Hawks, including all three meetings last season.
The Bona women (19-3, 8-1 A-10) also will be on the road, facing VCU (15-7, 4-5 A-10) at the Siegel Center in Richmond, Va. They will be looking for their first-ever win against VCU. St. Bonaventure is 0-3 in the rivalry since the Rams joined the Atlantic 10.
St. Bonaventure leads the conference with a 43.2 percent field-goal shooting average and a conference best 39.4 from three-point range.
Ohio University’s women (17-3, 9-0 Mid-American Conference) will visit the University at Buffalo’s Alumni Arena on Wednesday night to face a Bulls team that has lost five in a row.
The last loss for UB (10-9, 2-6 MAC) came on a buzzer-beater at Northern Illinois, 76-74, spoiling a career-best performance by Bulls forward Joanna Smith. She had career highs in points (31) and rebounds (14) in the loss.
Ohio has won 12 straight games, after just slipping by Ball State, 68-67, on Saturday.