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St. Bonaventure prepares for A-10 title game; UB, Canisius, Niagara ready for tournament play

The Bonnies punched their ticket to the Atlantic 10 Championship with a 71-53 win over Saint Louis on Saturday.
Credit: AP
St. Bonaventure 's Osun Osunniyi, left, and Saint Louis' Jordan Goodwin vie for a rebound during an NCAA college basketball game at the Atlantic 10 men's tournament Saturday, March 6, 2021, in Richmond, Va. (Alexa Welch Edlund/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Only No. 2 seed VCU (19-6) stands in the way of top seed St. Bonaventure men (15-4) and an Atlantic-10 title and an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Bonnies beat St. Louis 71-53 on Saturday to advance to the conference's title game, after winning the regular season title for the first time this season.

St. Bonaventure boasts a balanced scoring attack, led by junior guard Kyle Lofton, averaging 14.2 points per game. The Bonnies have been playing suffocating defense, and were ranked at the top of the A-10 this season, holding opponents to under 60 points in the past six games, including their two conference tournament wins over the Billikins and Duquesne.

Meanwhile, Buffalo's men's and women's teams are preparing to kick off in their respective Mid-American conference tournaments this week.

The University at Buffalo men earned the No. 2 seed, and will kick off the tournament on Thursday at 4 p.m. against No. 7 seed Miami (OH), who beat Bulls in the conference tournament last season, in Cleveland.

"We have a lot of respect for Miami. They're playing really good basketball right now," Bulls head coach said.

"We need to play a great basketball game... They're an explosive team and a team that can compete with anyone... so the motivation is 'Hey, you want to advance in the tournament?' and in trying to win a championship."

The Bulls also feature a balanced scoring attack. Junior forward Jeenathan Williams leads Buffalo in scoring with 17.3 points per game this season.

The University at Buffalo women's team clinched the No. 4 seed in their conference tournament, which will also be played in Cleveland, with an overtime win over Bowling Green, 69-68, on Saturday.

The Bulls are led by sophomore sensation Dyaisha Fair, who averages 24.1 points per game and became the youngest player in program history to hit the thousand-point milestone against Central Michigan in late January.

The lady Bulls will play No. 5 seed Kent State Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

In the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament, Canisius earned the No.6 seed and will kick off the first round Monday night at 7 p.m. against No. 11 seed Rider.

Niagara earned the No. 5 seed in the MAAC tournament, and will play in a quarterfinal matchup against No. 4 Marist, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

RELATED: UB, Canisius men win regular season finales

RELATED: St. Bonaventure punches ticket to Atlantic-10 championship