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College hoops: UB, Bona face key conference games

The University at Buffalo men (18-7, 10-2 MAC) own a healthy four-game lead over three runner-up teams in the Mid-American Conference East Division basketball race, but it's far from over.

The Bulls' six remaining MAC games are all against East Division opposition starting with tonight's return engagement with Kent State (12-13, 6-6 MAC) in  Alumni Arena (Radio 1520, 7 p.m.).

UB should have extra incentive for this one after a an 82-79 loss to the Golden Flashes two weeks ago in Ohio. Also the Bulls are coming off a disappointing overtime loss at Northern Illinois, which is tied for last place in the MAC West Division.

Kent State had lost three in a row since the win over the Bulls on Jan. 30. That included Saturday's 87-68 loss at Ball State, the first loss to the Cardinals since 2005.

The free-wheeling Bulls had difficulty countering Kent State's size in the previous game.

Seven-foot junior center Adonis De La Rosa had 20 points on 8 for 12 shooting and had five assists in the victory over UB. Danny Pippen, a 6-9 Sophomore forward from Detroit, had 21 points and 13 rebounds as well. Guard Jaylin Walker a UB nemesis last season when the Golden Flashes knocked the Bulls out of the MAC tournament, had 15 points.

How C.J. Massinburg often determines how UB goes. Massinburg was held to six points in the loss at Northern Illinois last Saturday. He was limited to eight in 38 minutes in the loss at Kent State.

St. Bonaventure (18-6, 8-4) at La Salle (10-15, 4-8): The Bonnies have climbed back into contention for a high finish in the Atlantic 10 by winning their last six. Now they must face the Explorers at Tom Gola Arena where they have lost in their last three visits. Bona's last win on La Salle's home court came in 2010.

It will be the only regular season meeting between the rivals. Bona won the only encounter last season, 83-65, in the Reilly Center when coach Mark Schmidt's team has won 10 in a row this season since an opening loss to Niagara. That opener was played without Jaylin Adams, who has scored 40, 44 and 24 points in his last three games.

La Salle has A-10 scoring leader B.J. Johnson, a 6-7 senior forward who is averaging 21.1 ppg. Johnson began his collegiate career at Syracuse where he played two seasons before transferring to where his father played on three NCAA teams in the 1980s.

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