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Big 4 Hoops: Bulls pass road test; Bona loses

Passing what was expected to be its stiffest test so far this season in the Mid-American Conference, the University at Buffalo men's basketball team passed with flying colors on Saturday.

The Bulls led virtually all the way in defeating Ball Stat3, 83-63, before 3,611 in Worthen Field House in Muncie, Ind., ending the Cardinals' win streak at nine which was the longest in the nation.

Coach Nate Oats UB team is 3-0 in MAC play and improved to 10-5 overall for the season.

In Philadelphia,  A technical foul for delay of game and a turnover in the 1:06 cut short a St. Bonaventure comeback Saturday night in an 83-78 loss to Saint Joseph's in Hagan Arena.

Bona trailed almost all the way after a 19-all tie, but were within four four points (79-75) when Courtney Stockard received a technical for delay of game. Taylor Funk of the Hawks missed the two free throws but Shavar Newkirk picked off a Bona pass with 32 seconds to play. The Bonnies got as close as three, 81-78, with 9 seconds to play after a three by Jaylen Adams before the Hawks closed it out with four straight free throws.

The Bonnies (11-3, 1-2 Atlantic 10) lost their second game after their eight-game win streak ended at Dayton on Wednesday night.
Adams led Bona with 19 points. Stockard had 17 before fouling out on his technical and freshman Izaiah Brockington, playing in his home town, had 16.

In the UB victory,  a basket by Wes Clark snapped a 4-4 tie and the Bulls led the rest of the way, building the lead to 43-25 at halftime. UB shot 47.4 percent (18 of 38) in the first half as Jeremy Harris and Nick Perkins each had 10 points in the opening period.

The closest Ball State got in the second half was 11 points. UB's largest advantage was 22 points (83-61) after a basket by Clark with 1:10 left.

Ball State (10-5, 1-1 MAC) had not lost since the day before Thanksgiving and its win streak included victories over Notre Dame on the road, Valparaiso and Eastern Michigan. Ball State lost to Dayton, Oklahoma, Oregon and Bucknell.

"This was a big game for both teams, and I thought they played a great game," said Ball State coach James Whitford. "They really threw us on our heels, and I thought we got rattled and kind of lost our composure, especially in the first half."

"They're tough," Whitford added. "They're physically very strong, and the play very physical. And we did not handle it well. I thought when we started to climb back in it a litle bit, we kept getting beat on the glass, and that was disappointing."

Five Bulls scored in double figures, led by Harris and Jayvon Graves with 16 points each. Perkins had 15 while C.J. Massinburg had 13 while Clark 10.

Sean Sellers, a 6-foot-6 senior, had 17 for Ball State, including 5 of 8 from three-point range, giving him 200 threes for his career.

UB will play at Akron on Tuesday night in its next game.

The St. Bonaventure women got back on track, ending their five-game losing streak with a 69-59 triumph over Massachusetts before 934 on Saturday morning at the Reilly Center."

Still operating without three regulars, the Bonnies used only six players in disposing of the Minutemen behind another standout performance by senior Mariah Ruff. The Bona starters each played 35 minutes or more.

Ruff, who had 28 of her 31 points in the second half of a home loss to Saint Joseph’s, led the Bonnies with 24 points on Saturday. Danielle Migliore, who has picked up her scoring lately, had 19 points. Bona was outrebounded by 11 but forced 19 UMass turnovers and had 12. Hailey Leidel had 20 points for UMass (8-8, 0-3 Atlantic 10 Conference).

Bona (6-10, 1-2 A-10) led 32-22 at the half and 56-34 after three quarters.

Ruff took over fifth place in Bona career assists (355) and jumped from 16th to 13th in career scoring with 1,167 points.

Today’s games
Men’s and women’s teams from Canisius and Niagara will all be on the road today in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games.
The Canisius men, who are now 3-0 in conference play after Friday’s 82-74 win at Quinnipiac, will face Siena (4-12, 0-3 MAAC) at 3 p.m. in Times Union Arena in Albany. Freshman Gordon Horn (29) and Prince Oduro (19) accounted career highs in Friday’s 84-76 loss to Niagara. It’s only the third time and first since 2013-14 that Canisius began its conference season with a 3-0 record.

Today, Niagara (8-8, 1-2 MAAC) will face Marist (3-11, 1-1 MAAC) at 2 p.m. in Poughkeepsie. The Canisius women (3-11, 1-2 MAAC) will play a 2 p.m. game at Rider (4-10, 1-2 MAAC) while the Niagara (4-10, 1-2 MAAC) plays at 1 p.m. at Siena (7-7, 2-1) after a 77-61 loss on Friday at Quinnipiac.



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