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UB men and women go down to MAC foes

Western Michigan was winless in Mid-American Conference men’s basketball and obviously overdue.

The Broncos made 13 of 19 three-point tries, hitting on 61.9 percent Saturday, and handed the University at Buffalo a 91-72 loss in Kalamazoo, Mich.

UB (10-9, 3-3 MAC) never led against Western (7-11, 1-4). In fact, the Bulls were hardly in the game after falling behind 17-2.

The host Broncs led, 48-30, at halftime and built their lead to as much as 25 points on a jump shot by Tucker Haymond with 9:32 to play.

Haymond led Western with 27 points, including 5 of 8 from three-point range. Thomas Wilder added 20 points, including 11 free throws in 13 attempts.

Willie Conner again was UB’s top scorer with 17 points. Perkins had 13 off the bench., Blake Hamilton, 11, and Jarryn Skeete 10.

Lamonte Bearden returned to action after missing two games with a foot injury and scored six points in 22 minutes on the floor.

UB was only 4 of 18 (22.2 percent) from outside the three-point arc and made 24 of 54 overall for 44.4 percent. Western made 27 of 53 of its field goal tries for 50.9 percent. Western had only six turnovers. UB had 10.

Meanwhile, in women’s Big 4 basketball, Miami (Ohio) pinned the fourth straight loss in conference play on UB, 69-58, at Millett Hall in Oxford, Ohio. The loss dropped UB to 10-8 overall and 2-5 in Mid-American Conference play. Miami is 8-10, 2-5.

“We just have to find our energy,” said coach Felisha Legette-Jack. “We didn’t have any today and that cost us this game.”

Joanna Smith of UB scored the game’s opening basket but a 7-0 run soon had the RedHawks in front, 12-4. The Bulls shot 19.4 percent (7 of 36) in the first half and trailed 28-22 at the break. A 7-0 spurt in the third quarter gave UB the lead, 33-32, but Miami soon regained the advantage. UB got as close as two points before an 8-0 Miami run on the way to a 16-point advantage.

Smith led the Bulls with 22 points, and Stephanie Reid had 17. The rest of the UB team contributed only 19 points. Cassie Oursler (Grand Island) led UB with nine rebounds.

The Bulls ended up shooting only 26.1 percent (18 of 69), including 4 of 19 from three-point range.

Last Feb. 14, Niagara visited McCann Arena in Poughkeepsie, and the Purple Eagles shocked perennial Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference power Marist, 70-65.

Saturday night, though, Marist was ready. The Red Foxes (8-11, 7-2) rode a 26-point, 14-rebound performance by sixth-year senior Tori Jaros to a 63-50 victory over the Purple Eagles. Allie Clement had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the winners, who won their fourth in a row. It was a reunion of sorts for Niagara coach Jada Pierce, who at one time was an assistant coach at Marist.

Sam Lapszynski and Kaylee Stroemple led Niagara’s scoring with 17 points each. Stroemple also had nine rebounds.

Next for Niagara will be a home game against Canisius on Thursday night.

Sunday’s games

After two straight losses to Duquesne and Dayton in the Atlantic 10 Conference, St. Bonaventure couldn’t have picked a much more difficult opponent to try to get back on the right side of things than Virginia Commonwealth. The Bonnies (12-5, 4-2 A-10) will meet VCU (14-5, 6-0 A-10) at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Siegel Center in Richmond, Va.

The Rams lost their successful young coach, Shaka Smart, when he signed on at the University of Texas last spring, but they haven’t missed a beat under their new man, Will Wade, who returned to VCU after two successful seasons as coach at Chattanooga. At 33, Wade is the fourth-youngest head coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.

VCU’s most impressive win was its 94-89 overtime victory over Richmond last week and a 22-point win at home over Duquesne, one of Bona’s two most recent losses. The Rams’ losses include Duke, Wisconsin, Florida State and Georgia Tech.

VCU is led by 6-foot-4 senior guard Melvin Johnson, one of three Rams starters who are shooting better than 43 percent from three-point range. Johnson is hitting at a 43.6 clip while 6-10 sophomore Michael Gilmore has made 44.0 and guard Korey Billbury is shooting 43.9.

Last time the teams met, Bona upset the Rams, ranked 18th in the nation at the time, 73-71, on an off-balance drive by Marcus Posley as the final horn sounded.

Canisius (10-10, 5-4 MAAC) will be home for the first of its two regular-season Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games against Siena (12-7, 5-3 MAAC) at 2 p.m. in the Koessler Center. The Saints, who are 1-3 on the road in conference play, are coming off a 63-52 home win over Rider. One of the road losses was in triple-overtime at Manhattan, a team Canisius edged, 65-63, in Riverdale last week. Siena already has surpassed its 11-win total from an injury-plagued 2014-15 season.

The Griffs have to deal with the beefy lineup Siena coach Jimmy Patsos will put on the floor – 6-8, 239-pound Javion Ogunyemi and 6-8, 238-pound Brett Bisping. Freshman Kenny Wormley at 6-4 is the shortest starter. Bisping leads the MAAC with 8.6 rebounds a game.

Senior center Kevin Bleeker, the unsung hero of the Griffs’ win at Niagara on Friday night with four blocked shots, two steals, four rebounds and seven points in 28 minutes, and forward Phil Valenti, who had a double-double (14 points, 11 boards) against Niagara, will have their hands full.

The Canisius women (8-10, 3-6 MAAC) will face Fairfield (8-10, 3-6) at 2 p.m. in the opening game of a doubleheader at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. The Griffs lost at home to the Stags, 51-50, on Jan. 2. Fairfield, the preseason favorite to win the MAAC, is coming off a 64-55 loss to Quinnipiac in a home game at its Alumni Hall on campus.