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Hamilton leads UB rally past Weber State in Alaska tournament

Blake Hamilton hit a three-point shot with 15 seconds left, then made two clutch free throws with five seconds to play as the University at Buffalo men’s basketball team rallied for a 74-72 victory over Weber State in the third place game of the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage on Saturday night.

Hamilton, Nick Perkins and Willie Conner led the way in the second half for the Bulls, who had an uphill fight after falling behind 40-33 early in the second half. UB led at the half, 30-26.

UB (3-3) still trailed by six (60-54) with just under six minutes to play. A layup by Hamilton started the comeback.

The senior from Pasadena, Calif., finished with 23 points and eight rebounds. Perkins had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Conner, a senior, contributed 15 points, including a vital three-point play for a 69-65 lead with 54 seconds to go. UB had taken the lead on a rebound basket by Perkins.

Turnovers and fouls plagued UB throughout. The Bulls turned it over 20 times to 14 for the Wildcats and committed 28 fouls.

Senior guard Jeremy Senglin had 21 for Weber State (2-4).

UB had lost to Nevada, 67-62, late Friday in Anchorage.

The Canisius men and St. Bonaventure women also earned road victories on Saturday afternoon.

The Golden Griffins ended a two-game losing streak with a 90-84 win over Youngstown State. Meanwhile, St. Bonaventure had to hang on for a 58-57 win over Austin Peay in the UCF Thanksgiving Classic in Orlando, Fla.

In Youngstown, Kassius Robertson had 27 points to lead the Golden Griffins to their second win of the season. It was the 200th career victory for Canisius coach Reggie Witherspoon, who won 198 games while working at the University at Buffalo.

Robertson came within a point of matching his career high, set in 2015. Kiefer Douse chipped in with a career-high 16 points, while Jermaine Crumpton and Phil Valenti also were in double digits with 12 and 11 points respectively.

The first part of the first half was a back-and-forth event, but Canisius took the lead for good as Isaiah Reese hit a three-pointer. The Griffins led, 41-35, at the half, thanks in part to a 55 percent shooting performance.

Canisius (2-4) built that lead to 17 points (76-59) with less than nine minutes to play, but the Penguins made it interesting.

They cut the lead to 84-79 with two minutes left. However, the Golden Griffins sank six straight free throws in the last 40 seconds to keep Youngstown State at a safe distance.

“We still have a way to go offensively, but I think our guards did a really good job seeing open spaces and getting the ball into the paint by driving or with a pass,” Witherspoon said.

The Penguins were led by Francisco Santiago, who had 23 points and 11 assists.

In Orlando, St. Bonaventure took a huge lead but then had to hold off Austin Peay again and again to earn a hard-fought victory.

The Bonnies had a 19-point lead (26-7) at one time in the first half, but the Governors kept coming back.

Bona was up, 50-49, with about three minutes left. Some clutch shooting down the stretch kept the Bonnies with a little breathing room, and that was enough for the win.

Mariah Ruff of St. Bonaventure (2-3) had 18 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Gabby Richmond finished with 11 points and Jalisha Terry had 10 points and six rebounds.

Bona goes right back to work on Sunday afternoon in the tournament with a noon date against Rider.

Friday’s game

A poor finish doomed UB in its game with Nevada late Friday night. The Wolf Pack had a 13-4 advantage in the final 8 minutes, 38 seconds in the 67-62 decision in the second rouind of the Great Alaska Shootout.

During that stretch, UB missed 13 of its final 14 shots.

It was a back-and-forth game. Nevada jumped out to a 17-9 lead, only to see UB answer with an 11-2 spurt to take the lead. The Bulls led, 33-30, at halftime.

Nevada drew even early in the second half, but UB jumped ahead, 51-46, with only 11:58 to go. The Bulls were still up, 58-54, with 8:38 left, but then turned cold. The Wolf Pack took a 67-60 lead, and the teams combined for only two points in the final 5:18.

Blake Hamilton had 14 points and eight rebounds for UB, but sank only 3 of 18 shots. Willie Connor had 12.

Nevada (5-1) was led by Marcus Marshall’s 23 points.

UB finished its play in the Alaska event with a game against Weber State late Saturday night.

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