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DePaul has targeted Hurley for its head-coaching vacancy

Let the wooing begin: DePaul University has University at Buffalo men’s basketball coach Bobby Hurley on its list of targets for its head-coaching vacancy.

DePaul is looking for a coach to replace Oliver Purnell, who resigned two weeks ago after compiling a record of 54-105 over five seasons. Hurley is among the Big East Conference school’s targets, The News confirmed.

The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that DePaul has strong interest in both Hurley and Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew; Tuesday night, ESPN reported that Hurley is a front-runner.

Both Hurley and Drew led their teams to the NCAA Tournament. UB lost to West Virginia. Valparaiso lost to Maryland.

Purnell, a 27-year head coaching veteran, was making a reported $2.2 million a year. He had taken Old Dominion, Dayton and Clemson to the NCAA Tournament six times before joining DePaul.

Hurley made $320,833 this year, not counting an incentive clause that pays him 25 percent of net ticket proceeds over $300,000. UB drew 47,311 fans to home games this year.

UB has been in talks with Hurley for several weeks on renegotiating his contract. Hurley could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The highest-paid coach in the Mid-American Conference is believed to be Ohio’s Saul Phillips, who makes $550,000 a year. Akron’s Keith Dambrot, an 11-year veteran at that school, makes about $400,000 a year.

The Big East was rated second and the Mid-American 10th among 33 conferences this year. The Tribune listed numerous other potential candidates, including Golden State Warriors assistant Lindsey Hunter, Sacramento Kings advisor Tyrone Corbin, Manhattan’s Steve Masiello and Green Bay’s Brian Wardle.

Canisius to face NJIT

The Canisius men’s basketball team will visit the New Jersey Institute of Technology Saturday in the quarterfinal round in the Postseason Tournament, the CIT selection committee announced Tuesday. This will be Canisius’ second trip to the CIT quarterfinals in the last three years.

The Griffs (18-14) advanced to the quarterfinal round following an 82-59 win at Bowling Green. NJIT (20-11) advanced by defeating Cleveland State, 80-77.

NJIT is the only independent school in NCAA Division I. This is its first 20-win season since moving to Division I in 2006. NJIT is a college of 10,000 students in Newark. The Highlanders this season have beaten Michigan, Duquesne, Yale and Hampton.

The other three quarterfinal games: Eastern Kentucky (21-11) hosts UT-Martin (20-12) Wednesday, UL-Lafayette (22-13) plays host to Evansville (21-12) Thursday, and Northern Arizona (21-14) plays host to Kent State (23-11) Friday.

Semifinal games will be played March 31 and the CIT championship game is April 2. Those games will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

Bona’s Alston to transfer

St. Bonaventure backup point guard Iakeem Alston will transfer to another school, the university confirmed Tuesday.

Alston started five of 29 games for the Bonnies this season. He averaged 10 minutes and 2.4 points a game and produced 42 assists with 20 turnovers. Alston, a 6-foot-2 Baltimore native, was a junior college transfer in his first year with the Bonnies. He saw minimal playing time for much of the year, after losing out the starting point guard job to freshman Jay Adams.

Alston got a chance to start in mid-February when Adams went out with a broken finger. He started four games in a row. But Bona coach Mark Schmidt then put Alston back on the bench and opted to use leading scorer Marcus Posley in the main ball-handling role. Alston averaged just 10 minutes the last five games, even though Adams was out.