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Big 4 hoops report: UB women hold off Central Florida to move to 6-0

The University at Buffalo’s women’s basketball team is still undefeated.

But its margin for error was very small on Thursday night.

The Bulls hung on to defeat Central Florida, 66-65, in Alumni Arena. UB moved to 6-0 on the season - the second straight season that it has reached that record. It is 5-0 at home. Meanwhile, the Knights fell to 6-2.

It looked like a rather comfortable win for Buffalo in the early going. UB had a 30-18 lead at the half, and a 43-29 advantage after three quarters.

The game still looked safe for the Bulls when they led, 55-40, with 2:42 to play. That means Central Florida scored 25 points in the final 162 seconds of the game. The Knights hit on five three-pointers, and had the ball with a chance to win with 14 seconds left. But Central Florida missed a lay-up, and freshman Summer Hemphill blocked a shot with one second left to preserve the victory.

JoAnna Smith led UB with 15 points, while Mariah Suchan finished with 12 points and Stephanie Reid added 10. For Central Florida, Zykira Lewis came off the bench to lead all scorers with 23 points. She hit 5 of 12 three-pointers.

UB scored 20 points off of turnovers to UCF’s six.

Next up for the Bulls is a home game on Sunday afternoon against Hofstra. Starting time is at noon.

Friday’s games

• Canisius and Niagara are ready to start play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and both will open on the road Friday night.

The Golden Griffins will play at Manhattan (7 p.m., Radio 1230 AM). Canisius has gone 2-4 in nonconference games so far in this young season, and is 2-2 in its last four starts. The Jaspers are also 2-4. They are coming off a loss against nationally ranked West Virginia. Manhattan hasn’t played a home game since Nov. 18, when it beat Hofstra. Zavier Turner is averaging 17 points per game to pace the Jaspers.

Meanwhile, Niagara heads to Marist College for a game with the Red Foxes (7 p.m., Radio 550 AM). The Purple Eagles are 1-5, and the road hasn’t been a friendly place for them. They are 0-4 away from the Gallagher Center, and 1-1 at home. Matt Scott leads the team with a scoring average of 20 points per game. Kahlil Dukes had 21 points in the Eagles’ last game, a loss at North Texas. Marist comes in at 3-4, having won their last two games. Niagara must try to stop Khallid Hart, who is leading the team at 21 points per game.

• The women’s teams from Niagara and Canisius also get down to conference business Friday night. Niagara hosts Monmouth at the Gallagher Center (7 p.m.). The Eagles are 2-3, and coming off a nice road win at

Cleveland State. Victoria Rampado is the only Niagara player to score at least 10 points in every game this season. Senior guard Tyese Purvis leads Monmouth in scoring at 12.8 points per game. The Hawks like to put the ball up from long range. They average more than 10 three-pointers attempted per game.

Canisius is also at home, as it continues a four-game homestand. The Golden Griffins host Rider at the Koessler Athletic Center (7 p.m.). Canisius has lost its last three games on its way to a 1-4 record. Lauren D’Hont leads the team in scoring at 13.8 points per game. Rider comes to the game with a 3-2 record. The Broncs are holding opponents to a 35 percent shooting percentage from the field.

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