How damaging was the University at Buffalo’s 90-88 overtime loss to Northern Illinois on Saturday? Minus a Mid-American Conference Tournament title and an automatic NCAA bid, the Bulls wwill find out when the NCAA Tournament invitations are handed out in March.
No doubt, though, that losing to the Huskies (11-14, 4-8) damaged UB’s hopes of an at-large bid to the Big Dance – along with the earlier loss to a middle-of-the-road Kent State team.
Before Saturday, NIU had lost 13 straight to UB. The Huskies’ last win in the rivalry was Jan. 7, 2006. UB had won the previous five visits to DeKalb. Also, UB had won 12 straight against MAC West Division opponents.
MAC scoring leader Eugene German scored the winning basket on a layup with 3 seconds to go in overtime. UB’s Wes Clark made the second of two free throws with 12 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 82-all.
German, a sophomore from Gary, Ind., had a huge game for the Huskies - 28 points. Nick Perkins had 22 points and Clark had 21 for UB.
If the Bulls are looking for a reason they lost, they can point to the free-throw line. UB made only 11 of 26 foul shots. NIU made 24 of 29. Fouls were even at 21 each and UB had a 33-30 edge in rebounding.
Jeremy Harris had 15 points but CJ Massinburg, UB’s leading scorer, had only six points. He made 3 of 10 field-goal attempts in 39 minutes and was 0 for 3 from 3-point range.
Clark hit a three to give UB an 88-86 lead with 1:54 left in overtime. German tied it with two free throws with 1:36 to go. UB missed two chances to go in front before giving up possession with 35 seconds left. German got that defensive rebound and, after a Huskies time out, he drove the lane for the winner.
The Bulls (18-7, 10-2) will be home to Kent State on Tuesday night at Alumni Arena and try to reverse their 82-79 loss to the Golden Flashes, who are coming off an 87-68 loss at Ball State.
Niagara 95, Fairfield 83: With all the attention Rider, Canisius and Iona are getting in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s basketball race, don’t forget about Niagara.
The Purple Eagles (17-10, 10-4 MAAC) went over the 90-point mark for the third game in a row and fourth time in the last five games in defeating the Stags (10-4, 5-8 MAAC) Saturday afternoon before 1,389 at the Taps Gallagher Center.
Junior forward Marvin Prochet scored eight of his 19 points in the last 1:35 of the first half to spark coach Chris Casey’s team to a 10-point halftime lead. NU didn’t give up the lead, but had to survive one scare when Fairfield went on a 16-4 run to close to 58-55 with 15:05 to play.
Baskets by Kahlil Dukes and Prochet, a 3 by Dukes and baskets by Matt Scott and Dominic Robb restored order. Soon Niagara’s lead ballooned to 20 points (87-67) and the Purple Eagles’ ninth MAAC win was tucked away. NU is tied for third place in the conference with Iona with a game against the Gaels in New Rochelle coming up on Friday. It’s the most meaningful late-season game for Niagara under Casey, who succeeded Joe Mihalich in 2013.
Dukes led Niagara with 22 points. Prochet and Scott each had 19 points and 11 rebounds.
Fairfield (13 of 36, 36.1 percent) outscored Niagara (8 of 16, 50.0) by 15 from long range, but was outrebounded, 48-34. NU made up for it at the foul line (15 of 17 versus 4 of 10) and by shooting 51.4 percent overall.
Dukes made all six of his free throws, extending his Niagara record to 37 in a row. He broke Calvin Murphy’s mark of 27 in a row in Thursday’s win over Quinnipiac.
MAAC scoring leader Tyler Nelson had 17 points for Fairfield but was only 7 for 23 on his field-goal attempts.
Niagara has won three in a row and its 17 wins are the most since the 19-14 2012-13 season, the last
UB 64, Miami (Ohio) 49: The Bulls (19-4, 10-2 Mid-American Conference) are on a tear with eight victories in their last nine games and Cassie Oursler is on her own personal tear right along with them. The senior from Grand Island registered her sixth double-double of the season and fifth in her last 10 games. Oursler had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the victory.
Stephanie Reid scored 16 points for the Bulls in the victory before a turnout of 1,507 at Alumni Arena. She also dished out six assists, giving her 606 for her career.
Summer Hemphill had 10 points and nine rebounds. The sophomore from Cardinal O’Hara has averaged 8.6 boards a game in her last 14.
The Bulls held Miami (5-9, 7-6 MAC) to six points in the second quarter to build a 33-23 halftime lead. The RedHawks were only 2 for 21 from three-point range. UB’s last two opponents were 3 for 37 from behind the arc – just 8 percent.
Next for UB is a Wednesday night home game against Central Michigan, which defeated the Bulls, 86-79, two weeks ago. The Chippewas are 11-0 in MAC play after Saturday’s 85-47 rout of Toledo.
Monmouth 65, Niagara 63: Monmouth’s Kayla Shaw hit a 3 with 17 seconds left, ending a scoring drought by both teams and giving the Hawks their victory over the Purple Eagles in West Long Branch, N.J.
Niagara had taken a 63-62 lead with 3:04 left on a layup by Kaylee Stroemple and there was no scoring until Shaw hit her game-winner. It was a back-and-forth game. The Hawks led 21-16 after the first quarter, but Niagara took a 36-33 lead into halftime and it was 52-all after three quarters. There were 10 lead changes in the fourth quarter.
Niagara (9-16, 6-8 MAAC) is eighth in the conference. Monmouth (7-17, 5-8 MAAC) is right behind.
Victoria Rampado, the leading scorer in the MAAC, had 23 points for Niagara while Jai Moore had 19 and Stroemple finished with 12. Shaw led Monmouth with 20 points including six 3-pointers.
Today’s women’s games
St. Bonaventure (7-17, 2-9 A-10) at VCU (5-18, 2-9): The Bonnies haven’t won since defeating Rhode Island at the Reilly Center back on Jan. 17. They have a reasonable chance of ending their five-game losing streak in the 1 p.m. game.
Canisius (8-16, 6-7 MAAC) at Marist (15-10, 11-2): The second-place Foxes will shoot for their sixth win in a row in the 2 p.m. game. Their streak includes a 78-53 rout of the Griffs.