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Big 4 roundup: UB extends program-best start in MAC; Canisius rolls; Bona falls

CJ Massinburg and Jeremy Harris scored 20 points each as the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team stayed perfect in Mid-American Conference play with a 84-74 road win at Western Michigan.

The victory pushed the Bulls’ winning streak to seven games, which marks their longest run since winning eight straight en route to the MAC Tournament championship in 2015.

UB led by two at halftime thanks to 16 points from Massinburg and trailed briefly in the second half before pulling away with a 15-4 run that was powered by two three-pointers from Harris and steals from Nick Perkins and Montell McRae on consecutive Broncos’ possessions. Perkins had 18 points and a game-high nine rebounds off the bench while Wes Clark scored 17 and matched a career high with nine assists. Harris was 4 of 5 from behind the arc.

The win lifted the Bulls to 14-5 overall and 6-0 in the conference, which marks their best start to MAC play in program history. Western Michigan fell to 11-8 and 3-3 in conference, losing at home for just the third time this year. UB improved to 5-2 on the road.

Friday’s game also saw the return of UB junior guard Dontay Caruthers, the reigning conference Defensive Player of the Year, who missed the last 11 games due to injury. He played 14 minutes and fouled out with four points.

Thomas Wilder and Josh Davis led Western Michigan with 16 points each. The team shot 40 percent from the field but made only seven of 22 three-pointers (31.8 percent).

The Bulls return to Alumni Arena at 7 p.m. Tuesday when they face Eastern Michigan (11-7, 2-3 MAC).

Canisius stays hot with road win

Isaiah Reese scored all 22 of his points in the second half while the Canisius men improved to 12-8 and 6-1 in the MAAC with a 68-59 win at Manhattan (9-10, 4-3). That set Canisius up for showdown with Iona on Sunday, which both teams enter tied in first place.

Reese was 6-of-13 from three-point range and added six assists and six steals. Takal Molson had 14 points and Malik Johnson had seven assists.

Manhattan shot better than Canisius from the field (47.8 percent to 40.7 percent) and grabbed more rebounds but turned the ball over 19 times.

All three Big 4 teams in action Friday played on national television, with UB and Canisius winning on ESPNU while St. Bonaventure lost on ESPN2.

Bona men fall to Davidson

Matt Mobley scored 25 points but the St. Bonaventure men took a fall in the Atlantic 10 standings with an 83-73 loss at Davidson.

The loss dropped the Bonnies to 12-6 overall but 2-4 in the conference while the Wildcats moved to 5-1, good for second place behind Rhode Island (6-0). Only Fordham (1-5) has a worse record than Bona in the A-10.

The Bonnies led 19-18 midway through the first half but didn’t hold the lead the rest of the game. They got within one possession at 58-55 on an Idris Taqqee layup with 11:54 to go, but went cold shortly after as the game slipped out of reach. They missed nine consecutive field goals and one free throw over the next five minutes and didn’t score again until Jaylen Adams made a free throw with 6:40 to play.

Adams scored 18 points but had an off-day shooting, going just 5 of 15 from the field and 4 of 12 from three-point range.

Peyton Aldridge led Davidson with 25 points on 7 of 11 shooting while Jon Axel Gudmundsson added 21 points. The Wildcats made 14 of 33 three-pointers (42.4 percent) against a Bonaventure defense that entered the game ranked 13th nationally in three-point defense (.299). Davidson was 18th in three-pointers made at 10.7 per game.

Saturday's games

Niagara men (12-8, 5-2 MAAC) at Fairfield (6-11, 1-5), 1 p.m.: The Purple Eagles put their five-game winning streak on the line against the Stags, who sit at the bottom of the conference. Niagara hasn’t been this hot since winning seven straight in 2013.

UB women (14-3, 5-1 MAC) vs. Toledo (13-5, 4-2), 2 p.m.: The MAC East-leading Bulls host defending MAC champ Toledo in a matchup that features the conference’s top two scoring defenses. Toledo is 10-1 at home but 3-4 on the road.

Canisius women (5-13, 3-4 MAAC) at Monmouth (4-12, 2-3), 2 p.m.: Canisius enters on a two-game winning streak that stopped a slide of 12 losses in 13 games. Sara Hinriksdottir is coming off a season-high 24-point game.

Niagara women (7-11, 4-3 MAAC) at Saint Peter’s (3-14, 0-6), 1 p.m: NU’s Victoria Rampado, ranked 19th nationally in scoring at 20.9 points per game, leads the Purple Eagles attack against a Peacocks team that allows a MAAC-worst 69.6 ppg.

St. Bonaventure women (7-12, 2-4 A-10) vs. Davidson (7-12, 2-4), 2 p.m.: Senior guard Mariah Ruff is averaging 25.6 points over her last five games but has done it while shooting 40.3 percent. She’ll look to stay hot against a Davidson team that has lost five of its last seven games and 10 of its last 14.

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