With a chance to move a step closer to locking up the No. 1 seed in the Mid-American Conference tournament, the University at Buffalo men stumbled Tuesday night.
A cold spell in the middle of the second half led to an 84-81 loss to the upstart Miami (Ohio) RedHawks at Millet Hall in Oxford, Ohio.
The Bulls live right, though. Despite the missed opportunity they lost nothing in the race with Toledo for the best record in the MAC regular season. Toledo fell, 85-79, at Eastern Michigan to drop to 11-4 in conference play. UB, 20-8 overall, is 12-3 in the MAC with home games against Ohio U. and Akron coming up before a final game at Bowling Green. However, losing to a second-division MAC team like Miami may be viewed as a "bad loss" when looked at by the NCAA Selection Committee and bracketologists next month.
UB’s last lead was 53-51 with 12:32 to play. Miami ran off to leads of 59-53 and 67-56 and never trailed again. The Bulls closed to three points several times and then to two, 80-78, after a three-point play by Wes Clark with 22 seconds left. but that was it.
Four free throws by Miami’s Nike Sibande closed it out, before Jeremy Harris hit a final three for UB.
Harris led the Bulls with 23 points, Clark had 18 and Nick Perkins had 18.
Sibande had 21 points for Miami, one of four double-figure scorers for the RedHawks (14-14, 7-8).
Canisius (19-10, 13-3) at Niagara (18-11, 11-5): Despite losses in their last games, the Big 4 rivals have plenty to shoot for besides local bragging rights. The Griffs, who trail first-place Rider by one game, still have a shot at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season championship. Niagara can climb as high as second place if it wins out and gets help. Each team is assured a top five finish in the conference and a first-round bye in next week's MAAC tournament in Albany. The bye means one less game to get through to win the tournament championship.
Canisius lost a heartbreaker at Rider on Sunday, losing when Isaiah Reese's last second shot was blocked. One of the Golden Griffins three MAAC losses and only home defeat in conference play was to Niagara, 105-89, on Jan. 27.
Niagara had its four-game win streak ended on Sunday at Manhattan, 82-72. However, the Purple Eagles played without second-leading scorer Matt Scott, who suffered a sprained ankle in Friday's win at Iona. Scott is listed as day-to-day, but has not practiced since the injury and was on crutches at Tuesday night's Niagara-Canisius women's game.
Duquesne (15-12, 6-8 A-10) at St. Bonaventure (20-6, 10-4): They have been bitter rivals over the years with many games decided on game-ending baskets, including this season. Jaylen Adams went off for 40 points, including the winning basket with 5 seconds left to win the previous meeting, 84-81, in Pittsburgh. That began a four-game Dukes losing streak. Nevertheless, Duquesne is much improved in its first season under coach Keith Dambrot, who built strong teams at Akron in the Mid-American Conference.
Tuesday, Matt Mobley of the Bonnies was named Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association after he averaged 28.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in wins at La Salle and over Rhode Island.
6-Mount Aloysius (6-19, 6-12 AMCC) at 3-Medaille (16-9, 13-5 AMCC): The Mavericks, who own two wins over Mount Aloysius in Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference regular season play, will be trying to advance out of the first round of the AMCC playoffs and get to the semifinals on Saturday at LaRoche in Pittsburgh.
5-Hilbert (17-8, 13-5) at 4-Penn State-Altoona (17-8, 13-5): The Hawks split two close games with Altoona in the regular season, winning 74-71 in Hamburg and losing 89-85 on the road. Winner moves on to the AMCC semifinals in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Buffalo State 54, Cortland 51: The Bengals, the last team to make it into the six-team field for the State University Athletic Conference playoffs, upset the No. 3 seeded Red Dragons on their home court for the second time this month.
Cortland led 9-0 but coach Kevin Clifford's team rallied for a 30-25 halftime lead.
Caleh McLean's basket with 5:19 put Buffalo State in front to stay, 45-43. Liv LeBaron's basket put the Bengals up by five with 2:22 to go, but the margin was down to two before freshman Katie Villarini (Hamburg) made two free throws with 14 seconds left.
Buffalo State still had to survive two three-point attempts by Cortland before the final buzzer.
Villarini led the winners with 16 points. LeBaron had 12 and McLean nine.
Buffalo State will face No. 2 seed Oneonta in the SUNYAC semifinals on Friday at Geneseo.
UB (21-4, 12-2 MAC) at Bowling Green (10-15, 2-12 MAC): Already assured of a top four overall finish in the conference and bye into the second round of the postseason tournament in Cleveland, the Bulls play the first of their two games against the Falcons. UB senior center Cassie Oursler (Grand Island) was named MAC East Player of the Week after she averaged 17.0, 10.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in wins over Central Michigan and Akron.
St. Bonaventure (7-20, 2-12 A-10) at Rhode Island (3-24, 1-13 A-10): The Bonnies figure to have a chance of ending their losing streak at seven against the Rams. Bona's last win was over Rhody, 81-70, on Jan. 17 at the Reilly Center. The Rams only win in conference play was over La Salle at home on Jan. 20.
5-Penn State-Behrend (12-13, 10-8 AMCC) at 4-Medaille (14-11, 11-7 AMCC): Senior Dani Reinwald, who is averaging 19.0 points and 16.3 rebounds a game, leads the Mavericks in the first round Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference playoff game at the Sulliven Center. The Mavs defeated the Lions, 77-66 and 77-67 in the regular season. Winner advanced to the semifinals on Saturday at Hilbert, the regular season champion.
Canisius 12, Binghamton 10: The Griffs scored the last three goals of the game over the final 7:47 to win their first game under new coach Mark Miyashita. Senior Connor Kearnan, who had four goals and four assists, scored the tying goal with 7:47 left. Mathieu Boissonneault put the Griffs ahead, 11-10, with his second of the game at 5:23. Carter Stefaniak (Lancaster) added an insurance tally, his second goal of the game, with 1:48 to play.
Reece Eddy, Ryan McKee and Steven Coss each had a goal and an assist for Canisius while Cody Filson had a single tally.
Binghamton, which had lost previously to Syracuse and Colgate, is 0-3.
Vermont 18, St. Bonaventure 10: The visiting Catamounts (1-1) did all the scoring in the second half after a 10-10 halftime tie to spoil the Bonnies' home opener. Julia Davidson scored three times for Bona (0-2) while Kyle O'Gorman Ashley Easterly and Olivia MaDonald had two goals each and Gabrielle Bradley had a goal and two assists.