Big 4 men ri­vals get down to busi­ness early

The Buffalo News - - SPORTS - By Mark Gaughan

The Big 4 men’s bas­ket­ball sea­son will open with ri­valry games on back-to-back days in Novem­ber.

Ni­a­gara vis­its St. Bon­aven­ture at 8 p.m. on Fri­day, Nov. 10. Cani­sius Col­lege vis­its the Univer­sity at Buf­falo for a 2 p.m. game Satur­day, Nov. 11, at Alumni Arena.

The Big 4 meet­ings for the 2017-18 sea­son were an­nounced by the four schools Mon­day. As ex­pected, there is no Big 4 dou­ble­header, as there was last sea­son. The other games: UB vis­its Ni­a­gara on Nov. 29 and plays host to St. Bon­aven­ture on Dec. 2, a Satur­day game. Start times have yet to be de­ter­mined.

Cani­sius plays host to St. Bon­aven­ture at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Koessler Ath­letic Cen­ter.

Cani­sius and Ni­a­gara meet twice, as usual, in the Metro At­lantic Ath­letic Con­fer­ence. Those dates have yet to be set.

It will be the first time Ni­a­gara and St. Bon­aven­ture faced in a sea­son opener since 1933. Bona went 20-12 last sea­son and re­turns four starters. Ni­a­gara went 10-23 and re­turns all five starters. The game is part of a dou­ble­header. The Ni­a­gara and Bona women tip off at 5:30 p.m. in their sea­son open­ers at the Reilly Cen­ter.

It’s the first time UB and Cani­sius have opened against each other since 2006. UB went 17-15 and lost two starters. Cani­sius went 18-16 and lost three starters.

It marks the third meet­ing be­tween the Bulls and Golden Griffins in­side Alumni Arena since 2011-12. UB won the last meet­ing at UB two sea­sons ago, 98-96, in over­time. The Griffs won last sea­son’s meet­ing in over­time, 94-87, at the KeyBank Cen­ter. con­tract to play in Latvia.

UB an­nounced the 6-foot-6 Cal­i­for­nia na­tive will play for BK Ventspils, which com­petes in the Lat­vian league, the Baltic Bas­ket­ball League and the Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons League.

Hamil­ton’sstandin­gasaUBall-timegreat was se­cured when he sank the last-sec­ond shot to send UB to the NCAA Tour­na­ment in 2016. He was named sec­ond-team All-MidAmer­i­can Con­fer­ence last sea­son af­ter lead­ing UB in scor­ing (17.5) and as­sists (4.5). He be­came the 19th UB player to sur­pass 1,000 ca­reer­points,even­though­he­p­layedonlytwo sea­sons for the Bulls af­ter trans­fer­ring from ju­nior col­lege. Hamil­ton ranked sixth in the MAC in scor­ing, 14th in re­bound­ing and fifth in as­sists as a se­nior.

Ventspils won the Lat­vian league nine times, most re­cently in 2014. For­mer Syra­cuse star Gerry McNa­mara is a for­mer Ventspils player. Ventspils is a city of 39,000 lo­cated on the Baltic Sea.

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