Big-Four basketball weekly roundup

UB and Canisus both leading their conference

Ryan Gates
January 22, 2018 - 2:43 pm



Twitter: @ryan_wgr

Almost a month through conference play in the NCAA men's basketball season, and two of the Big-Four basketball teams lead their respective conferences. It's been a solid start in conference play for the Bulls, Golden Griffins, and Purple Eagles while the Bonnies, facing high expectations this season, have struggled.

University at Buffalo Bulls:

In Nate Oats' third season at the helm of the team, the Bulls (14-5, 6-0) have started 6-0 in conference play for the first time as a D-I program. Already holding a three game lead over Kent State, Miami (OH), and Bowling Green in the MAC East, the Bulls are poised to go into the MAC tournament with a first-round bye.

In their two games last week the Bulls beat Northern Illinois (9-10, 2-4) 95-67, and Western Michigan (11-0, 3-3) 84-74. On Friday, Dontay Caruthers, the reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year, returned to the lineup for his first game since December 2nd, adding to an already deep bench.

Junior forward Nick Perkins has been a force coming off the bench for UB. In the two games last week he averaged 22 points, and 7.5 rebounds earning the MAC East Player of the Week award. He's come off the bench in all six conference games for the Bulls and is second in conference scoring with 19.2 points per-game.

The Bulls return to Alumni Arena on Tuesday as they host Eastern Michigan (11-8, 2-4) before traveling to Athens, OH for a showdown with the Ohio Bobcats (9-9, 2-4). As always you can listen to both games on ESPN 1520.

Canisius Golden Griffins:

The Golden Griffins (13-8, 7-1) have been a surprise in Reggie Witherspoon's second season as coach opening play in the MAAC with a 7-1 record.

Making a trip downstate this weekend the Griffs earned victories over Manhattan (10-10, 5-3) 68-59, and Iona (12-8, 6-2) for the second time this season 84-82.

Sophomore guard Isiah Reese led Canisius averaging 21.5 points, 5.5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 4.5 steals. He was named the MAAC Player of the Week. Senior Forward Jermaine Crumpton chipped in averaging 15 points, and 6.5 rebounds.

Winning nine of their last 10 games, the Griffs have only one game this week when they host Niagara at the Koessler Athletic Center Saturday at 7 p.m.

Niagara Purple Eagles:

Niagara (12-9, 5-3) had a roadtrip to Connecticut last week to face Quinnipiac (7-13, 4-4) Thursday, and Fairfield (7-11, 2-5) on Saturday. After a 81-73 win over the Bobcats, Niagara saw their five game win streak in the MAAC come to an end with a 104-85 loss to the Stags.

The Purple Eagles have been led by the two-headed beast of Kahlil Dukes, and Matt Scott this season, each are averaging over 20 points per-game.

Dukes continued his high level play scoring 23 against Quinnipiac, and another 26 versus Fairfield. He also added four assists in each game. Scott struggled in the two games averaging just under 10 points while shooting 6-of-21 from the floor.

Tied for third with Manhattan in the MAAC, the Purple Eagles host the Jaspers on Wednesday at 7 p.m. before taking on Canisius in Buffalo on Saturday. You can hear both of those games on WGR.

Saint Bonaventure Bonnies:

The Bonnies (12-6, 2-4) battled through non-conference play with an injury to star Jaylen Adams with a 10-2 record and scored an upset in the Carrier Dome against the Orange. However, since starting conference play in the Atlantic 10, Bonaventure has stumbled winning only two of their last six games.

In their only game last week, the Bonnies fell to Davidson 83-73 on a nationally televised ESPN2 showcase.

Only trailing by four at the half, Bonaventure allowed the Wildcats to build a 10 point lead 3:35 into the second half and could never recover. Matt Mobley led the way for the Bonnies with 25 points, while Jaylen Adams added 18 on 5-of-15 shooting. Josh Ayeni was suspended for the game for a violation of team rules.

Bonaventure has lost all four of their road games in A10 play so far this season. Luckily, this week they have a pair of games at the Reilly Center. First, they'll look to avenge an 85-78 loss to Saint Joseph's (9-9, 4-3) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. You can watch that game on CBS Sports Network. On Sunday, the Bonnies host George Washington (9-11, 2-5) for a noon tip-off on NBC Sports Network.

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