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Big 4 Hoops: Bench rescues UB; Bona wins in rout

The University at Buffalo got a huge lift from its bench in an 82-69 victory over Kent State Tuesday night in Mid-American Conference men's basketball at the M.A.C. Center in Kent, Ohio.

The Bulls (8-10, 2-3 MAC)  had to rely on their depth because  Willie Conner picked up two technical fouls and was ejected with 13:38 to play in the first half after an altercation with Kent State star Jimmy Hall. Also,  Blake Hamilton was limited to 19 minutes because of foul trouble and finished with just nine points. The biggest lift came from sophomore Nikola Rakicevic who had 14 of the 36 points the UB bench contributed to the victory. Rakicevic had two baskets in the 11-point run that brought UB to a 71-64 lead in the second half. A five-point run made it 76-67 and the Bulls had the game in hand.

Meanwhile, St. Bonaventure (12-6, 4-2 Atlantic 10) built a 31-point halftime lead and cruised past Saint Louis, 71-52, at the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis. Jaylen Adams returned to the Bona  lineup after missing two games with an ankle injury, but the Bonnies easily could have given him another game to heal. Coach Mark Schmidt's team shot 60.7 percent (17 of 28) in the first half while the Billikens were limited to four baskets in 20 attempts. The Bonnies had a 19-8 advantage in rebounding over the first 20 minutes and had justs four turnovers to 10 for Saint Louis.
Adams, the leading scorer in the A-10, was clearly off his game even though he had 13 points and 14 assists. The junior guard made only 3 of 10 field goal tries and 5 of 9 at the foul line.  Matt Mobley led the Bonnies with 23 points.

Bona started off with a 7-0 lead and had two 13-0 runs in the first half. However, they finished the game by going nearly five minutes without a field goal before LaDarien Griffin scored on a dunk with 4 seconds left.

Davell Roby had 17 points for Saint Louis which got no closer than 14 points in the second half.

C.J. Massinburg led UB with 22 points, Nick Perkins scored 17 off the bench while Donta Caruthers had 11. Hamilton picked up his third foul with 2:35 left in the first half and finished the game with four.

Hall led Kent State (9-9, 1-4) with 24 points and 15 rebounds. He made 9 of 13 shots but only 6 of 12 foul shots. Hall was issued a technical foul in the first half altercation with Conner but was not ejected. Hall made only one of the three free throws he received as a result of the incident as part of a 17-0 run by the Golden Flashes that gave them a 21-14 lead.

Neither team put on a free-throw shooting clinic. UB made only 12 of 24 while Kent State hit 10 of 21.

Next for UB will be a home game against Western Michigan at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Wednesday's games

The women's teams at Canisius and Niagara have struggled a bit so far this season, but they get an opportunity to salvage some pride when they meet for the first time this season Wednesday night at the Gallagher Center in Lewiston at 7.

The rivals split their two regular season games in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference last season.  Canisius leads the all-time rivalry, 53-35.

Niagara (5-12, 2-6 MAAC) has a slightly better record for all games so far and played a schedule that included ranked opponents Maryland and Syracuse as well as Michigan. Canisius (4-13, 3-5 MAAC) is slightly better in conference play with one game against a ranked opponent, No. 12 Ohio State.

Junior center Victoria Rampado (15.9) and junior forward Kaylee Stroemple (12.6) have led the Niagara scoring most of the season. Rampado has scored 20 points or more seven times and has registered five scoring-rebounding double-doubles. Stroemple has scored in double-figures in 10 of her last 13 games with a high of 26 in a loss to Quinnipiac. Freshman Morgan Baughman leads the Purple Eagles with 40 three-point baskets in 100 attempts.

Junior Sara Hinriksdottir leads Canisius with a 14.8-point average. Senior Lauren D'Hont is averaging 11.9 ppg. Margret Halfdanirdottir has hit 21 of 49 three-pointers for a Canisius team that his hitting at a .322 from outside the arc. Niagara on the other hand leads the MAAC in three-point shooting percentage (108 for 302, 35.8 percent).

The return game in the rivalry will be Feb. 10 at the Koessler Center.

The University at Buffalo women who got back on the winning side with a 68-51 win at Miami (Ohio) on Saturday after three straight Mid-American Conference losses is on the road again. The Bulls (12-4, 2-3 MAC) play  Bowling Green (5 -12, 1-4) at  Stroh Arena in Bowling Green, Ohio.. The Bulls have won the last five games in the series against the Falcons after Bowling Green had collected 20 straight in the rivalry from 2003-04 through 2013-14. Last time out, UB freshmen Summer Hemphill (Cardinal O'Hara) and Theresa Onwuka each posted a double-double in the win over Miami.


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