Big-Four basketball week in review

UB suffers their first conference loss, but remain on top of the MAC

Ryan Gates
February 06, 2018 - 4:43 pm



As the calendar flips to February, the Big-Four basketball teams have each positioned themselves well to make a run in their respective conference tournaments. With over half of their conference games in the books, UB, Niagara, Canisius, and St. Bonaventure each sit fourth or higher in their conference standings. We're now less than a month until March Madness begins.

University at Buffalo Bulls:

It was the first hiccup in Mid-American Conference play for the Bulls (17-6, 9-1) last week with an 82-79 loss to Kent State. U.B. was excellent in the first half shooting 69-percent from the floor, and had a 19-2 run to build a 41-23 lead. Going into the break, the Bulls led by 13 and continued to hold that lead into the second half. With just under four minutes remaining in the game, the Bulls were ahead 77-70, but the Golden Flashes would score the next 12 points to serve U.B. their first conference loss. Reigning MAC East Player of the Week, Jeremy Harris, led the way for the Bulls with 20 points in the loss.

Despite having their nine-game win streak broken a record crowd of 6,670 showed up to Alumni Arena to watch the Bulls defeat Western Michigan 92-86. Five players reached double-digits in an offensive showcase with C.J. Massinburg dropping 26 to lead U.B.

With eight games remaining in their schedule, the Bulls have already matched their win total from last season and hold the top spot in the MAC.

Two games on the road this week with the first Tuesday night against Central Michigan (15-8, 4-6) at 7 p.m. On Saturday afternoon the team will take on Northern Illinois (10-13, 3-7) at 4:30 p.m. You can listen to both of those games on ESPN 1520. 

Niagara Purple Eagles:

After a big win against Canisius, Niagara (15-10, 8-4) faltered on the road in the first of their two games in New Jersey over the weekend. The offense for the Purple Eagles struggled mightily in a 58-52 loss to Saint Peters on Friday night. The team shot only 27.1-percent from the field, and a putrid 17.9-percent from beyond the arc. Niagara scored the first point of the game, but never led at any other point in the contest.

On Sunday afternoon, Kahlil Dukes stole the show with a career high 37 points, as the Purple Eagles offense took flight again in a 96-91 victory over Monmouth. Dukes scored 25 of his points in the second half as he was a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe in the half. His 37 points are the most in the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference this season, and his second 30 point game.

Six games remain for Niagara in the regular season as they currently sit fourth in the MAAC. A pair of games for the team this week at the Gallagher Center starting Thursday as they host Quinnipiac (9-15, 6-6) for a 7 p.m. tip which you can hear on AM 1400. The Purple Eagles took down the Bobcats 81-76 last month. On Saturday, the team will look to avenge a 104-85 loss to Fairfield, as they take on the Stags at 3 p.m. You can hear that game on WGR.

Canisius Golden Griffins:

The Griffs (15-9, 9-2) bounced back with a pair wins over the weekend after a loss to Niagara in the Battle of the Bridge.

On Friday, Canisius edged Marist 73-67 with 60 of their points coming from the trio of Isaiah Reese, Takal Molson, and Jermaine Crumpton. Molson scored 21 points, with 10 boards, while Crumpton chipped in 18 to go with his career-high 16 rebounds.

In a Sunday matinee, the team cruised to a 73-58 win over Saint Peter's. Jonathon Sanks came off the bench to have a career-high 14 points shooting 4-of-6 from three-point range.

Seven games in the MAAC remain for Canisius as they have won eleven of their last 13 games. They are second in the conference behind only Rider (17-7, 10-2) who the Griffs beat 77-76 in the first game of MAAC play.

The team's next three games are home at the Koessler Center. This week they host Siena (7-18, 3-9) on Thursday for a 7 p.m. tip, and Quinnipiac on Saturday at 2 p.m.

St. Bonaventure Bonnies:

St. Bonaventure (16-6, 6-4) has won four straight after starting Atlantic 10 play at 2-4. The Bonnies hadn't won a conference game on the road before last week when they beat both George Mason and Duquesne.

Matt Mobley had an electrifying performance on Wednesday as Bonas rolled to an 85-69 win over the Colonials. Mobley had a double-double with a career-high 35 points, and eleven rebounds in an incredible shooting game, where he shot 11-of-15 from the floor, including 7-of-9 from beyond the arc. Nelson Kaputo also shot lights out as he set a career-high in points with 20, while shooting 7-of-10 from the floor, making six of his nine three pointers.

Not to be outdone by Mobley on Wednesday, Jaylen Adams was on absolute fire Saturday night in a great game against Duquense. Adams hit the game-winning three-pointer with five seconds left for his 40th point of the game, and giving Bonas an 84-81 win over the Dukes. In a career performance, Adams shot 14-of-22 from the floor, and 8-of-13 from the three-point line, while adding seven assists. Matt Mobley still had a solid night playing all 40 minutes, and chipping in 19 points. He was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week.

After a slow start to conference play, the Bonnies have rebounded well and are currently tied with both Richmond (8-14, 6-4) and VCU (14-9, 6-4) for third in the Atlantic 10. With eight games remaining in a tight conference, Saint Bonaventure hosts a pair of huge games this week at the Reilly Center. First, Saint Louis (13-11, 6-5) travels to Olean for a 7 p.m. tip-off on Wednesday, and on Saturday at 4 p.m. the Bonnies host Richmond in a game that is already sold-out.

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