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Big 4 Hoops: Bona visits a trouble spot

Coach Mark Schmidt and his St. Bonaventure men's basketball team probably remember well their last trip to the A.J. Palumbo Center last season to face Duquesne.  Led by senior guard Derrick Colter, a Bona nemesis for four seasons, the Dukes scored a 95-88 victory. It was the Bonnies' first loss in Atlantic 10 Conference play after four victories and ultimately cost them undisputed possession of the conference's regular season title and an NCAA bid. It will be the first of two meetings this season between the teams (TV-ASN, Radio 95.7 FM, 7 p.m.).

Colter who had 23 points and nine assists in the game and once beat Bona with an end-to-end drive for a game-winning  last minute basket in 2014, is gone and it's been a lean season so far for Coach Jim Ferry's team (9-13, 2-7 A-10).  The Dukes have lost their last five games. St. Bonaventure (13-7, 5-3 A-10) is coming off a 71-59 loss at Rhode Island after three straight conference wins.

One bright light has been 6-foot-8 freshman forward Isiaha Mike from Scarborough, Ont.,  who was named A-10 Rookie of the Week for the third time this season after he scored 23 points in a  loss to Richmond last week. Emile Blackman, a graduate transfer from Niagara, is averaging 12 points a game for the Dukes.

It will be the 117th meeting between the Bonnies and Dukes, a rivalry that began in 1920. Bona is 2-4 in its last six visits to Duquesne.

Mid-American Conference East Player of the Week JoAnna Smith and the University at Buffalo women's team will also be on the road, facing Toledo (Radio 1520, 7 p.m.). Smith averaged 26.5 points for the Bulls in two games last week, reaching the 20-point mark for the fourth and fifth times in her last eight games.

UB (15-5, 5-4 MAC) will be trying to avenge a 73-64 loss to the Rockets on Jan. 11 at Alumni Arena. Stephanie Reid of the Bulls has 36 assists in her last three games, most ever by a UB player over a three-game span. She has 28 in the last two, most in the NCAA this season over two games.



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