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UB basks in spotlight during hoops win at Ball State

The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team put on a good show for the folks watching its nationally televised game Friday night.

That’s bad news for host Ball State as the Bulls routed the Cardinals, 96-69, at Worthen Arena in Muncie, Ind.

Blake Hamilton led UB with 25 points, eight and four rebounds. The Bulls recorded 20 assists on their 33 field goals as they shot a sizzling 50 percent from the floor, including 45.8 from three-point range. CJ Massinburg made 3 of 5 shots from downtown and finished with 11 points for UB (11-12, 5-5), which has won three of its last four games at Worthen Arena.

The Mid-American Conference West Division-leading Cardinals raced to an early 7-0 lead and had a lead of 14-8 before UB started asserting itself. UB took its first lead on a Nick Perkins layup with just over 11 minutes to go in the first half. The Bulls took the lead for good 2:30 later on a Hamilton traditional three-point play.

This was the first of a stretch of three out of four games on the road for the Bulls as they return to action at Alumni Arena on Tuesday against Northern Illinois at 7 p.m.

Huge battle set for sold-out Reilly Center

A battle of top men’s teams in the Atlantic 10 highlights a busy Saturday of college basketball involving the area’s Big 4 teams.

The biggie is in Allegany, but for those wanting to see St. Bonaventure in action against VCU, you will have to watch the nationally televised game. Two of the top four teams in the conference meet at 4 p.m. at the sold-out Reilly Center on the Bona campus (CBS Sports Network).

The Bonnies (14-7, 6-3) enter the matchup having won four of their last five games – including Wednesday’s contest at Duquesne, 71-64. The Rams (17-5, 7-2) enter the game tied for first in the conference and winners of three straight.

Bona hopes to continue to get big performances from Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley. They are the fourth-highest scoring teammate tandem in Division I as they enter Saturday averaging 40.7 points per game.

The Bonnies will have to be precise against a VCU team that yields just 66 points per game – second best in the conference. Jequan Lewis leads VCU at 14.5 ppg.

Bona’s old Little Three rivals are also in action but on the road.

Canisius (13-10, 6-6) heads to Times Union Center in Albany to take on Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foe Siena. The Golden Griffins beat Siena (10-13, 7-5) last month, 72-69, as Kassius Robertson scored 21 points in that win. The Griffs have hit a rough patch, losing three of their last four. The Saints have won six of their last eight.

Niagara (8-16, 5-8) continues its MAAC roadie through Connecticut, heading from Fairfield to Hamden to take on the Bobcats of Quinnipiac (8-14, 5-7). The Purple Eagles have won three of their last five.

Busy day for women’s teams

All four Big 4 women’s teams are in action Saturday with three of them hosting conference foes.

The University at Buffalo (15-6, 5-5) hosts Kent State (12-10, 6-4) at 2 p.m. at Alumni Arena in Mid-American Conference play. UB has lost two of its last three, including Wednesday’s 85-63 decision at Toledo.

Canisius (7-15, 6-7) faces defending MAAC champion Iona (14-8, 10-3) at 2 p.m. at Koessler Center. The Griffs defeated Manhattan on Thursday. Iona won its fifth straight when it gave Niagara the slip, 65-55, at the Gallagher Center on Thursday.

Manhattan (7-15, 3-10) visits Niagara (5-17, 2-11) at 3 p.m.

St. Bonaventure (9-13, 4-6) is the only women’s team not at home as it heads to the Big Apple to face Fordham (15-9, 6-4) in the Atlantic 10 at 2 p.m. Bona comes into the contest having won three of its last four but lost in its last start Sunday at Saint Joseph’s, 70-53.

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