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Big 4 Hoops: UB plays semifinal in Alaska; Niagara at North Texas

Senior Blake Hamilton's career-high 36 points on Wednesday night led the University at Buffalo to an 85-79 victory over host Alaska-Anchorage in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout.

After the win over the Division II Seawolves, the Bulls take a step up Friday night to face Nevada (4-1) of the Mountain West Conference in the second round in Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. The game will tip off at 9:30 pm EST (Radio 1520) Friday night. It will on CBS Sports Network on tape delay at midnight.

Another Big 4 men's team will be playing in a far off destination. Niagara (1-3) will face North Texas (1-3) in Denton, Texas, (Radio 1400, 8 p.m.) It will be the Purple Eagles' third and final game in the Scarlet Knights Showcase.

Although outscored 20-0 at the foul line UB led, 35-33, at halftime in Wednesday night's game. Hamilton scored  29 of his points in the second half and most were needed. Anchorage took a 46-43 lead with 14:14 left before UB went in front for good with a 7-0 run The surge was capped by a three-point play by sophomore Nick Perkins.

Hamilton scored five points in a row to give the Bull a 69-58 lead with 6:28 left. He made his final nine free throws to seal the victory.

Nevada came back from a 16-point halftime deficit to defeat Oakland, 82-78, in the late game which didn't end until Thursday morning EST.

Marcus Marshall, a 6-foot-3 senior guard scored 21 of his 25 points in the second half to lead the Wolfpack comeback that handed Oakland its first loss in five games. Cameron Oliver, a 6-6 forward from Oakland, Calif., had 22 points for Nevada in the victory.

Nevada is coached by Eric Musselman, a frmer NBA coach whose father was a long-time college and professional coach at places such as Ashland College, Minnesota and in the NBA.

Drake met Iona and UC-Davis face Weber State Thursday night in the other Great Alaska Shootout bracket.

Niagara is coming off its first win of the season, a 93-74 win over Drexel on Wednesday night in the Gallagher Center. The Purple Eagles led most of the way but never comfortably until they opened a 20-point cushion in the second half.

It was an encouraging performance by Niagara. Three Purple Eagles hit career-highs in points. Marvin Prochet had 21, 18 in the seocnd half, Kahlil Dukes had 19 and James Towns 17. Niagara shot 62.3 percent (33 for 53 from the field) and was 83.3 (10 of 13) from three-point range.

The point total was the most for Niagara in three seasons.

North Texas owns one win, over NCAA Division IIi Sul Ross State, 85-77. The Mean Green lost at home to Drexel, 83-62, and at Rutgers, 66-53. North Texas starts a 7-foot-1 sophomore center, Rickey Brice Jr., who has slimmed to 260 pounds this season. Backing him in the middle is 6-9, junior college transfer Shane Temara from Syracuse. His mother was a basketball star at Syracuse and was inducted into the Orange Plus Hall of Fame in 1987.

The North Texas scoring leader is 6-4 senior guard Deckie Brown.


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