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Canisius in avoidance mode


---Canisius and Julius Coles, pictured above, appear likely to secure no worse than a sixth-place finish and avoid the tournament play-in game as the MAAC regular season concludes this weekend.

---Former Syracuse All-American Carmelo Anthony was finally traded to the New York Knicks.

---Saint Louis' Rick Majerus has had a rough year, but he hopes to return for another season.

---Here's a breakdown of the major bubble teams.

---For the first time since Nov. 2000, St. John's is in the Top-25. Dan Martin explains how they got there.

---Notre Dame's Mike Brey, Louisville's Rick Pitino and St. John's Steve Lavin are all worthy candidates for Big East Coach of the Year.

---Former Iowa coach Todd Lickliter took the high-road about specifics regarding his dismissal.

---Michigan State coach Tom Izzo reportedly helped a lady dig her car out of a snow covered driveway.

---In college football, former Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams returns to Grambling.

---Rodney McKissic


Barrett hooks on a UCF

Danny Barrett, the former QBs coach and offensive coordinator at UB under Turner Gill, has been named the running backs coach at Central Florida.

Barrett spent the last season as the OC at FCS Bethune-Cookman. In 2007, Barrett joined Gill's staff as the QBs and was the interim coach of the Bulls following Gill's departure to Kansas.

---Rodney McKissic


Bonnies win streak ends

Justin-harper ---The three-game winning streak for Andrew Nicholson, pictured right, and St. Bonaventure ended with a loss to Richmond.

---The accumulation of games and practices takes a physical toll on each basketball body. The challenge, for Syracuse players and their training staff, is to minimize the soreness so players can maximize their effort.

---So who's number one?

---Matt Norlander wonders why people think Purdue can't win the National Championship?

---In colllege football, Mark Cuban is going Radical.

---Alabama shows how much it wants Barry Sanders. Jr.

---Allen Wilson has his first NFL mock draft.

---Breaking down the NFL Combine.

---Rodney McKissic


UB offers four more prospects

The Bulls extended four more scholarship offers on Sunday during their Junior Day:

Chad Kelly, QB, St. Joe’s: Kelly, the nephew of Bills Hall of Fame QB Jim Kelly, also has offers from Florida State and Western Michigan.

Adrian Lindsey, LB, South Paulding, Ga.: From the same high school as incoming true freshman QB Tony Daniel.

Marcus McGill, WR, Gates Chili High, Rochester: Versatile athlete who plays a number of positions.

Kenton Playko, OT, Olentangy High, Lewis Center, Ohio: MAC schools are in pursuit but he likes Northwestern.

The Bulls previously made offers to St. Francis tailback Akeel Lynch (6-1, 190) and Canisius defensive tackle Corey Madlock (6-2, 255).

---Rodney McKissic


Live from Koessler: Canisius vs. Rider

It's the final week of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference women's basketball season and Canisius looks to gain some momentum for the tournament.

The Golden Griffins host Rider at 2 p.m. with both teams sporting 4-11 MAAC records. Rider is coming off a triple-overtime win at niagara on Friday while the Griffs lost to Iona.

In that Friday night loss to Iona, Canisius saw its NCAA Division I record for consecutive games with a made three-pointer end. The Griffs went 0-for-12 from three-point range in that game after the team had made a three-pointer in 510 straight games. The streak dated back to Jan. 11, 1994.

Check back for updates throughout the game.

Final:  Canisius wins, 70-28. That ties for the most points scored by the Griffs this season and marks the fewest they've allowed.

Second half

15:51 left: Canisius leads, 48-19. Drysdale hit another 3-pointer to spark the Griffs offense at the tart of the half. She has nine points.

13:21 left: Rider calls time out as Canisius extends its lead to 52-19.

10:49 left: The bench is getting quality playing time for the Griffs, who have a 52-23 lead.

7:36 left: Not much scoring this half, as Canisius holds a 54-25 lead. With her 11 points, Drysdale has double figures in four straight games -- the best streak of her career.

3:41 left: The Griffs lead, 66-25 and are poised to close this out.

Halftime: Canisius leads, 41-15. Jen Lennox has nine points for the Griffs while Jen Morabito and Jamie Ruttle each have seven. The Griffs shot 57.1 percent (16 of 28) in the first half while Rider shot just 20 percent (5 for 25). The Griffs converted nine Rider turnovers into 12 points.

This marks the biggest halftime lead for the Griffs since a 48-13 lead over Colgate on Nov. 12, 2007.

First half

2:04 p.m.: Tip-off!

15:45 left: Canisius leads, 11-2. The Griffs began a new three-point streak when Micayla Drysdale hit from long range in the first minute of the game. Freshman Jamie Ruttle has played well in the post on both ends of the floor to start the game. She has four points in the Griffs' opening run.

9:47 left: Canisius leads, 17-9. Rider is starting to outwork the Griffs in the post.

7:54 left: The Griffs extend their lead to 21-9. Canisius is playing solid defense and converting turnovers into points or productive possessions. 

2:40 left: Canisius leads, 38-12. The Griffs are shooting 62.5 percent from the field (15 of 24) including going 5 of 9 from 3-point range. Rider is just 4 of 23 from the field (17.4 percent).

--- Amy Moritz

Milwaukee-UB game analysis

Game analysis: Zach Filzen scored a career high 30 points as UB defeated Milwaukee, 80-65, in a BracketBuster matchup. The Bulls won one from the heart for coach Reggie Witherspoon, who lost his father, Moses, to cancer last week

How UB won: Filzen can stretch the defense with his deadly shooting, but UB is known for its defense. The Panthers connected on just 10 field in the second half and shot 34.5 percent.

Turning point: Milwaukee cut the lead to six with 14:43 left before Filzen hit a three to push the lead to nine before Javon McCrea hit Jawaan Alston on a bounce pass for a backdoor layup. 

Player of the game: When Filzen's on, UB is hard to beat.

Stat of the game: The Bulls shot a sizzling 62.5 percent in the second half.

He said it: "Keep shooting like that, Zach’’ – UB freshman Javon McCrea to Zach Filzen because when Filzen shoots like that, it opens up the middle for big men like McCrea.

What it means: UB is now 16-9 with four games remaining until MAC Tournament time.

In the house: 3,694 at Alumni Arena.

Next up: 7 p.m. Thursdat at Kent State.

---Rodney McKissic


Niagara-Central Michigan Game Analysis

Niagara 61, Central Michigan 55

How Niagara Won: The offense continues to improve. Purple Eagles shot 52.6 percent in second half and 44.7 percent for the game, which it enabled it to overcome 20 turnovers and a 35-28 rebounding disadvantage.

Turning Point: Anthony Nelson's steal and subsequent assist on Kavon Moore's dunk gave Niagara a four-point lead with 1:13 to play. But let's not overlook the desperation three Nelson had to take with 21 seconds left, and Moore's successful pursuit of the long rebound.

Player of the Game: Nelson got the offense flowing in the final 15 minutes after Niagara plodded through the first half. He totaled 13 points, seven assists and three steals and has tied Alvin Cruz's school record for career assists.

Stat of the Game: Central Michigan pulled down 19 offensive rebounds, which explains why, eight minutes into the second half, the Chips had taken 19 shots to Niagara's five.

Stat of the Game II: Niagara's first field goal came 3:35 into the game. It's first second-half field goal came 5:49 after intermission.

They Said It: Niagara coach Joe Mihalich on how his team struggled after Wednesday's dramatic victory over rival Canisius: "This was a trap game for us after the big win. You're flat. You think you can just show up a little bit. Yada-yada-yada. And you still find a way to win. We're far from there yet but we're becoming a good team."

Overrated?: Central Michigan freshman Trey Ziegler was named to the Mid-American Conference pre-season all-conference team. No way he makes the end-of-season squad. In fact, it would be a major injustice if he tops UB's Javon McCrea as MAC freshman of the year. Ziegler's had some decent outings, but he was decidedly average (at best) in games at UB and Niagara and looked utterly confused Saturday. He shot 2 of 11 for six points to go with five turnovers. Which leads us to:

They Said It II: "He's a talented kid but he still is a freshman," Mihalich said of Ziegler. "When a team's going to change a lot of defenses . . . it's going to force him to make adjustments which he's not used to making."

In The House: Only 1,238 showed up for a rather lackluster BracketBuster matchup. The students were in short supply as most looked ahead to Saturday night's home hockey game against Canisius.

Next Up: Niagara finishes up the regular season with home games against Loyola (Friday) and Manhattan (Sunday).

-- Bob DiCesare









Live from Dwyer: Canisius-Niagara

LEWISTON -- The final regular season meeting between Canisius and Niagara is set for 7 p.m. at Dwyer. Niagara has a 2-0 edge in the season-series, winning on Thursday at Buffalo State Ice arena, 3-0.

Niagara's top line has been its strong point all season as senior Bryan Haczyk leads the nation in goals (27) while senior Paul Zanette is second (25).

The Golden Griffins, meanwhile, are hitting a skid at the worst possible time of the season. With three games left in the regular season, Canisius is on a four-game losing streak and has been shutout for the last three games -- the first time that has happened in program history.

Check back for updates throughout the game.

Final: Canisius ends it's four-game losing streak with a 6-3 win over Niagara.

Third period

8:52 p.m: The third period is just starting.

12:52 left: Niagara inches back into the game as a goal by Clark MacLean makes it 5-3.

41.2 seconds left: Scarsella scores an empty-netter for a 6-3 Canisius lead.

Second period

18:44 left: Canisius takes a 3-0 lead when Patrick Sullivan put in a rebound off an initial shot by Erix Rex. Niagara changes goaltenders, taking out junior starter Chris Noonan for freshman Cody Campbell.

12:50 left: And the goals keep coming for the Griffs, who take a 4-0 lead on a goal from Preston Shupe, his ninth of the year.

12:02 left: Niagara gets on the board with a short-handed goal by Scott Arnold. Canisius holds a 4-1 lead.

11:13 left: The Griffs get one back with a power play goal by Chris Forsman for 5-1 lead.

7:47 left: Scoring keeps coming this period as Niagara's Ryan Rashid nabs a power play goal to make it 5-2.

1:43: The penalties are starting to add up for both teams as the cheap-shot portion of the series begins.

End of the period: Canisius leads, 5-2. Niagara will have 17 seconds of power play time left when the third begins. Ben Danford picked up an assist during the period to give him the most points by a rookie defender in Canisius hockey history while tying him for most assists by a defender.

First period

7:06 p.m.: Puck drop!

13:57 left: Canisius goes up, 1-0 on a goal Taylor Law. And the drought is over for the Griffs. That goal ended a scoreless stretch of 186 minutes, 17 seconds.

6:43 left: Both teams have gone 0-for-1 on the power play this period. The Griffs still hold a 1-0 lead.

5:18 left: Canisius takes a 2-0 lead on a power play goal from Vincent Scarsella. That ends an 0-for-31 streak for the Griffs on the power play.

End of the first: Canisius leads, 2-0. Freshman Ben Danford has an assist on both Canisius goals, giving him 19 on the season -- one shy of tying the program record for assists by a defender in a season. Meanwhile his 21 points this season ties him with Carl Hudson for points by a rookie defender.

--- Amy Moritz

Live from the Ice Arena: Canisius-Niagara hockey

Niagara wins, 3-0, to improve to 14-9-1 in Atlantic Hockey, 17-11-3 overall. Canisius fell to 8-11-5 in the league, 9-16-6 overall. It is the fourth straight loss for the Griffs marks the first time in program history that they have been shutout in three straight games.

Third period:

15:00 left: Niagara still leads, 2-0. Canisius had about 70 seconds worth of a 5-on-3 and failed to get on the board.

3:41 left: Niagara adds one more to take a 3-0 lead. Bryan Haczyk scored on a pass from Paul Zanette.

Second period:

15:39: Still scoreless. Some great chances by Canisius, particularly Vince Scaresella but Chris Noonan made big saves for Niagara.

10:54 left: Sam Goodwin scores to give Niagara a 1-0 lead.

4:18 left: Niagara goes up, 2-0 on a perfectly executed power play. A shot by Ryan Rashid was tipped in high by Paul Zanette.

End of the second: Niagara leads, 2-0. The final 2:13 saw three penalties called and when the third starts, the Purple Eagles will have 38 seconds of a 5-on-3 power play.

First period:

7:05 p.m.: Canisius' Cory Conacher and Niagara's David Ross take a ceremonial puck drop with the JDRF. Both player have type 1 diabetes.

7:06 p.m.: Game on!

11:06 left: No score. Niagara had a power play and some good scoring chances but Dan Morrison came up big in goal for the Griffs.

5:07 left: Canisius had back-to-back power plays but still nothing up on the scoreboard for either team.

End of the first: No score. Both teams went 0-for-2 on the power play. Canisius holds an 8-6 lead in shots on goal. Of NIagara's six shots, only one came at even strength.


Rivalry week continues tonight at the Buffalo State Ice Arena as Canisius and Niagara clash in an Atlantic Hockey meeting.

Niagara won the earlier season matchup, 6-5 in overtime, in a game which saw crazy momentum swings. The Purple Eagles hold a 13-6-1 advantage in the series dating back to 1997 and have won four of the last five meetings.

At 8-10-5 in Atlantic Hockey, Canisius is fighting for home ice in the opening round of the conference playoffs. Pacing the Golden Griffins is senior Cory Conacher, who became the program's all-time leading scorer this season. Freshman defender Ben Danford is third in the country for assists by a defender with 17 while senior Eric Rex already has a career-best 20 points. He came into the season with 13 points over the previous three seasons.

Niagara (13-9-1) is in third place in Atlantic Hockey, led by a strong top line. Senior Paul Zanette has 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) while Bryan Haczyk has 41 points (26 goals, 15 assists).

Check back for updates throughout the game.

--- Amy Moritz

To the bitter end

NU cheer
---Rivals Niagara and Canisius can probably agree one on thing: There's never been an ending quite like the one that resulted in the Purple Eagles' victory Wednesday night.

---Jerry Sullivan writes the thing about the area's oldest hoop rivalry is no matter where the players call home, they figure it out sooner or later: Canisius-Niagara matters.

---Riding the hot hand of Ogo Adegboye, St. Bonaventure topped Saint Louis.

---Jim Mandelaro writes a feature on UB's Javon McCrea.

---A good-read on Iona's Scott Machado.

---A certain football loving state has the nation's top basketball program as well.

---Arizona State will retire Byron Scott's jersey tonight when they host Washington.

---Billy Packer has some choice words about the CBS/Turner NCAA Tournament plans.

---Rodney McKissic


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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |