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UB women finish Big 4 sweep

The University at Buffalo completed its sweep of Big 4 opponents in women’s basketball Monday with a 72-55 victory over host Canisius in the Koessler Athletic Center.

Senior forward Kristen Sharkey led the Bulls with 26 points on 10 of 14 shooting and shared the team rebound lead with Christa Baccas. Each had nine boards. Crystal Porter’s 14 points led Canisius.

The Bulls (7-4) led, 35-28, at halftime and stayed in command the rest of the way in their final nonconference game of the season. It was the fourth loss in a row for Canisius (4-7), which is 2-0 in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games and resumes conference play at Manhattan on Friday night.

UB outshot the Golden Griffins, 25-17, hitting 40.3 of its field goal attempts, including 5 of 24 from three-point range. Canisius shot only 28.8 percent (17 of 59) and was just 2 of 9 on three-pointers. The rebounding was virtually even, but the Bulls helped cause 19 Canisius turnovers and had only 14 miscues.

UB took the lead for good on a basket by Alexus Malone that made it 7-5 before the five-minute mark and built its advantage to as many as 20 points in the second half.

Tuesday’s games

Canisius and Niagara remain on the home front while the University at Buffalo and St. Bonaventure hit the road as all the Big 4 men’s teams (and the Niagara women) wrap up 2014 with Tuesday night games.

Canisius (6-4) will play its last nonconference game with a 7 p.m. start against Missouri-Kansas City. It’s the third game of a five-game homestand for the Griffs after victories over Stony Brook and Holy Cross. UMKC, of the Western Athletic Conference, is 6-9 and coming off a 73-70 double-overtime victory over Indiana State in which 5-foot-11 sophomore guard Martez Harrison struck for a career-high 34 points. He averages almost 19 points.

Niagara hopes to end its losing streak at seven when it meets Albany at 7 p.m. in the Taps Gallagher Center. The Purple Eagles (1-8) haven’t won since a Nov. 20 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game at Saint Peter’s. Albany (5-6), of the America East Conference, has reeled off three wins after a four-game losing streak including victories against MAAC teams (Siena and Fairfield). Niagara-Albany is the nightcap of a doubleheader that opens with the Purple Eagles’ women’s team (5-5) facing Mount St. Mary’s (Md.) at 5. Mount St. Mary’s of the Northeast Conference is 2-8.

UB goes from one extreme to the other as it plays at Binghamton of America East at 7 tonight. The Bulls (7-3) are fresh off Sunday night’s 68-56 loss at No. 6 Wisconsin, a game that UB led at the half. Binghamton is 1-13 and without a victory over a Division I team. The Bearcats rank 304th or worse among Division I schools in scoring, rebounding, assists and field-goal percentage.

St. Bonaventure, a 69-51 victor at Binghamton on Dec. 20, returns from a seven-day layoff with a 7 p.m. tipoff at Delaware. The Blue Hens of the Colonial Athletic Association, winless in 10 starts, are playing just their fourth home game. Three of their last five defeats are by four points or less. The Bonnies, meanwhile, are off to 7-3 start and rank 45th nationally in rebounding.