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Niagara-Canisius Game Analysis

Niagara 67, Canisius 65

How Niagara Won: The Purple Eagles surely caught the Griffs totally offguard with their determination to establish a presence in the paint. Forward Kashief Edwards struck for 21 points. Fellow big men Erik Williams and Scooter Gillette added 10 and 4. That means the Purple Eagles got more than 50 percent of their points on the interior. And that happens about once a Joe Mihalich coaching tenure (well, maybe during the Juan Mendez years). Niagara also shot 53.2 percent. They were shooting 36.7 percent from the field coming in.

Turning Point: The goaltending call against Marial Dahl on Edwards' catch-and-shoot at the buzzer. Would the shot have gone? If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one around does it still make a sound?

Player of the Game: Edwards was super. A beast. Relentless in scoring 21 for the second straight game. But he shares the honor with Nelson (nine assists). The first three Niagara baskets of the second half were scoring by Edwards on assists by Nelson. And then the two teamed up on the play that won it.

Unsung Hero: Freshman guard Malcolm Lemmons scored 13 points for Niagara on 4 of 5 shooting (2 of 2 from three) and handed out three assists.

Stat of the Game: Niagara went to the foul line 23 times, Canisius 6. Lopsided officiating? Nope. Assertiveness has its rewards. The Griffs have a love affair with the perimeter that's going to break their hearts. They've shot 150 fewer free throws than the opposition this year. It's unfortunate that an injury earlier this season arrested the developed of freshman Chris Manhertz. Now there's a Griff who cherishes contact.

Stat of the Game II: This was the fifth game in a row Niagara's shot worse than 60 percent from the line. They were 12 of 23 and missed the front end of three one and ones in the final 1:13.

National Stat Watch: Nelson, the country's steal leader at 3.47 per game, managed just two, one of which resulted in his own breakaway dunk.

They Said It: "I say it kiddingly but I mean it, I think about Dayton all the time. That's what I think about. We win this (MAAC) Tournament in Fairfield, we can find a way to do that, we'll be in Dayton. Nothing wrong with Dayton in March." -- Niagara coach Joe Mihalich.

They Said It II: "I don't think the game was lost on that .4 seconds or in the last couple of minutes. It was lost early on when we didn't establish tempo and do the things we needed to do to win this basketball game. -- Canisius coach Tom Parrotta.

What It Means: Niagara improved to 7-21, 4-12 in the Metro Atlantic. Canisius fell to 13-13, 7-9. The Griffs remain tied with Siena for sixth place. The one that finishes seventh will play an an extra game in the MAAC Tourney. Niagara already knows it's play-in bound.

In the House: 2,293 jammed the Taps and made the noise of 22,930. Just a great, great basketball venue. Like being in a tornado.

Next Up: Both step out of conference for the BracketBuster. Niagara hosts Central Michigan Saturday afternoon. Canisius visits Boston University.

-- Bob DiCesare





Bona-Saint Louis Game Analysis

St. Bonaventure 83, Saint Louis 73

Game Analysis: When Andrew Nicholson picked up his second foul with 9:43 left in the first half, things looked bleak. The Bonnies had eight turnovers and couldn't buy a bucket. But the team's supporting cast --- most notably Ogo Adegboye and Da'Quan Cook --- stepped up to preserve the win. Career nights for that duo.

How Bona Won: Adegboye had the fire department on call all night. The senior hit six three-pointers en route to a 29 points. And by the time Nicholson got rolling in the second half, Bona had a comfortable double-digit lead.

Turning Point: Adegboye's trey at the buzzer of the first half really sucked the life out of the Billikens. St. Bonaventure headed into the locker room with a 32-21 lead and picked up exactly where it left off to start the second half.

Player of the Game: Nicholson scored 20 points in the second half, but this honor goes to Ogo. Hands down. He was lights out from three and hit the big shots when they mattered most. When St. Louis tried to contain Nicholson in the paint with multiple defenders, Adegboye hit shots.

Stat of the Game: As a team, the Bonnies shot a blistering 17 of 23 in the second half (74 percent).

He Said It: "The good thing about us, and I say this all the time, is that it's not just about Andrew. We have other weapons." --- Bona coach Mark Schmidt

What It Means: Bonnies keep riding a wave of momentum. This team is peaking. With four wins in its last five games, Bona is playing its best basketball at a crucial time. Maybe most importantly, other players are stepping up. Tonight, Adegboye and Da'Quan Cook (21 points, eight boards) proved there is more to this team than Nicholson.

In the House: A reported 3,264 were in the RC tonight. And the students were in midseason form. They rode Rick Majerus all night, especially after the Billikens coach picked up a 'T.'

Next Up: St. Bonaventure hits the road for a date with Richmond on Sunday (3 p.m.).

--Tyler Dunne


Canisius @ Niagara Live



Niagara 67, Cansius 65. Officials put .4 seconds back on clock. Dhal called for goaltending on alley-oop to Edwards.


Niagara 54, Canisius 45, 13:22: Niagara continues to be relentless on the interior. Edwards has seven in half -- all coming from Nelson feeds. Williams jammed off a Lemmons pass. And then Lemmons went to the offensive glass for a bucket.  Canisius more patient on offensive end and striving to work into paint.

Niagara 56, Canisius 50, 11:34: A Belardo three and a Goldsberry jumper with clock expiring get Griffs within six. Edwards has nine in half and 13 in game for Niagara. Niagara 6-8 from field in half, Griffs 7 of 14.

Niagara 61, Canisius 58, 7:38 -- Griffs intent on making a living from outside. A three by Coles -- their fourth of the half -- closes the gap to three.

Niagara 63, Canisius 60, 3:45: Coles at line for Griffs trying to complete three-point play after drawing foul from Gillette on drive.

Niagara 65-61, 1:40: Williams dunks off Nelson feed.

Niagara 65-63, 38.7: Belardo scores inside after Jordan misses front end of one-and-one. Niagara ball with full shot clock. ... Edwards misses front end of one-and-one. He's a 55 percent free-throw shooter. Press by Griffs forced ball into his hands. Canisius timeout with 27.8 left.

65-65, 6.2: Frazier layup off Coles feed after Lemmons misses front end of one and one. ... Jordan jumper blocked by Vazquez-Simmons. OT.




Canisius 7, Niagara 5, 15:50: We've already had two dunks, one by Elton Frazier off a Gaby Beldardo alley-oop and one by Kashief Edwards on a rebound. Niagara settling for long-range jumpers which feeds right into Canisius game plan if they're not falling. Griffs are tough in transition.

Canisius 16, Niagara 14, 11:56: Anthony Nelson at line looking to tie it up after media timeout. Alshwan Hymes had a pair of threes for the Griffs. Nelson and Malcolm Lemmons have hit from long range for Purple Eagles, who have six of their 14 points on offensive rebounds. Canisius 6 of 12 FG, Niagara 5-13.

Niagara 27, Canisius 26, 7:01: Lemmons at line looking to complete 3-point play. Niagara went on an 11-2 run to lead 22-18. Canisius came back in front on a jumper and trey by Jullus Coles. Marvin Jordan and Gaby Belardo traded treys after that. Niagara definitely the aggressor, and has drawn 10 fouls out of the Griffs. Belardo and Vazquez-Simmons have a pair. Just three fouls against Niagara.

Niagara 35, Canisius 32, 3:56: It's getting wild. Coaches have been on floor twice to diffuse incidents involving players. Niagara taking it right at Griffs in the paint, and are 8 of 14 at line compared for 3 of 4 for Griffs. Frazier leads Canisius with 9 points. Lemmons has 8 for Niagara.

Niagara 43, Canisius 32, 1:29: Jordan and Lemmons nails three and Jordan uses screen for layup. Griffs making no effort to establish inside presence.

HALFTIME:  Niagara 43, Canisius 34: Griffs trying to take easy way out with bombs from outside the arc. It's not working. Niagara pounding it inside when opportunities arise.


How many times have these teams met? The number's 168 according to Niagara. It's 166 by the Canisius count. Maybe one of them is right.

The Griffs (13-12, 7-8) won the earlier meeting, 69-54, at the Koessler Center, pulling away late while outscoring the Purple Eagles, 26-12, in the paint. Niagara (4-23, 3-12) has picked up some confidence since then, particularly with last Friday's road win at Loyola (Md.). It'll be interesting to see how the Griffs respond in the Gallagher Center. They haven't won here since 2002 and haven't swept the season series since 1994-95.

-- Bob DiCesare




Live from Olean: Bona-St. Louis


18:30: Nicholson gets his first field goal of the game. Avoiding foul trouble will be key for the big man. He sat 10 minutes in the first with two fouls. Bona, 36-23.

15:51: Nifty scooping banker from St. Louis' Dwayne Evans. But Bona's Michael Davenport answers right back with a bucket. 40-29.

13:30: Ogo is busting this game open. Point guard just hit his fifth trifecta of the game and it's 49-35 St. Bonaventure.

8:21: And a MJ-like "What?" look on the face of Adegboye after yet another three-pointer. He has six treys. Bona leads, 62-45.

5:56: These chants directed at Majerus are getting a little ridiculous. Though, I guess Wendy's doesn't mind the free advertising. Either way, Bona is rolling. It's 65-49.

3:42: This one's all but over. St. Bonaventure is cruising. Nicholson, virtually invisible in the first half, suddenly has 19 points. Bonnies lead, 73-56. Ogo has 27.

1:46: Hometown boy is going to get some action. Jake Houseknecht, the pride of the Olean Huskies, has just entered the game with his team ahead, 80-62.

0:22: Billikens give Bona a scare with the backups in, cutting the lead to 80-73. Schmidt sticks his starters back into the game.

FINAL: Bonnies 83, St. Louis 73. Off to interviews...More to follow.



15:49: Ugly start for Bona. Turnovers, missed shots and Saint Louis is up 6-2. Freshman Rob Loe just nailed a spot-up jumper for the Billikens. St. Bonaventure needs to settle down. Adegboye is forcing things so far offensively.

11:00: The Bonnies are showing a little more life. Matthrew Wright banged in a three from the top of the key, followed by a strong putback by Marquise Simmons underneath. Billikens still lead, 12-11.

9:51: Nicholson is going strong to the bucket but isn't finishing so far tonight. Throwing off-balance shots at the rim and missing. Whole offense needs to look for better shots (4 of 15 from the field). St. Louis, 13-12.

7:38: Sloppy, sloppy play for Bona continues. Already, the Bonnies have eight turnovers and are 4 of 16 from the field. Ogo just had an ugly turnover. St. Louis, 15-12.

6:42: Ahh, our token Rick Majerus breakdown. Former Utes coach just T'd up for St. Louis. That could a momentum-changer. Fans chanting, "Eat a salad!" Ouch.

4:50: Nicholson has two fouls. He may be shelved for the half. Crucial stretch here -- Bona has the 'mo, up 18-17. In other news, we have 20 combined turnovers.

2:00: Offense looks a little lost without Nicholson but Da'Quan Cook is hitting the boards and cleaning up the mess. Forward leads Bona with 10 points....Bonnies lead, 24-17.

0:54: Three-pointer from Ogo Adegboye and Bona is stretching this thing out. Incredible. Andrew Nicholson doesn't have a field goal this half, Bonnies play sloppy for 13 minutes and they're up 29-19.

HALFTIME: Another three-point dagger by Ogo at the buzzer and St. Bonaventure heads into halftime up 32-21.


OLEAN -- The key to making a run in the postseason? Former NFL coach Tony Dungy use to say it's all about being "hot and healthy." No doubt, the St. Bonaventure men's team sure fits the bill with the regular season winding down. After weathering a rough stretch in the middle of their schedule, the Bonnies have been playing their best basketball this month.

Bona has won three of its last four with the lone loss a mere two-point defeat at Dayton. Role players surrounding do-it-all Andrew Nicholson have stepped up. And, of late, Bona looks a lot more like the team that stunned St. John's than the one that lost to lowly Niagara.

Saint Louis is a decimated bunch. The Billikens -- elf-like dolls, in case you're wondering -- are without their top three scorers from a year ago. Kwamain Mithchell and Willie Reed were suspended while Cody Ellis is out after season-ending shoulder surgery.

Of course, anything can happen. The A-10 has been wide open all season. But the Bonnies have a golden opportunity to stay hot tonight at The Reilly Center.

We're about a half-hour away. Keep it here for live updates throughout the game.

---Tyler Dunne

Five who could be factors in 2011

UB was a 2-10 football team last season which means no player’s position is etched in stone in 2011. Jeff Quinn will employ the same philosophies on offense and defense next fall, and players signed two weeks ago will undoubtedly be called on to step up and become a factor as true freshmen. Here are five who are likely to see immediate playing time in 2011:

Kendall Patterson, defensive tackle: The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Maryland native has let it be known through Facebook and Twitter his enthusiasm about attending UB. Quinn and defensive coordinator William Inge, the man who recruited Patterson, need him to plug up the hole of a leaky run defense that allowed 159 yards a game which ranked 67th nationally. Patterson, who was heavily recruited by schools from the Big Ten, ACC, Big East and Conference USA, has the talent and size to replace Anel Montanez, who started all 12 games at tackle.

Brandon Tammaro, linebacker: UB loses seniors Justin Winters and Raphael Akobundu from its linebacking corp and perhaps the lone lock is Khalil Mack. Inge will once again run a 3-4 defense and the 6-3, 225-pound Tammaro could potentially play any of the four linebacker position in that system as well as defensive end where he played in high school. His ability to make plays and athleticism are underrated.

Mike Brown, safety: UB lost its entire starting secondary and the only player who has some experience as a starter is rising sophomore Carlos Lammons, a corner who started four games. Sophomore Romel Dismuke, who sat out last season after transferring from Cincinnati, is also expected to start. The Bulls signed three defensive backs although the number of players returning doesn’t necessarily produce a need for a true freshman contributor but Brown is a sleeper who is potentially too talented to keep off the field. He has legitimate 4.4 speed and could help in the return game.

Dillon Guy, guard: Four starters return on the offensive line counting right tackle Matt Ostrowski, who missed the last nine games of the season with a broken leg. Overall, the unit was horrific but they couldn’t create running lanes for the tailbacks. Quinn wanted a leaner line when he arrived but soon discovered a bulker one is better suited for the MAC. At 6-5 and 290-pounds Guy, who enrolled in January and will be available for spring practice, has the size and agility to play either guard or tackle and could be the perfect replacement for four-starter Peter Bittner.

Patrick Clarke, kicker: A.J. Principe is graduating, so the 6-0, 175-pound Clark is the Bulls kicker. At the national championship combine Clarke went 10-for-10 on field goals between 30-52 yards. He was also an outstanding soccer player who scored 40 goals with 33 assists in three seasons while earning all-state honors as a senior.

---Rodney McKissic


Bulls begin targeting 2012 recruits

Signing Day doesn’t necessarily mean that coach can turn away from recruiting. It’s only the beginning.

Now that the players for the Class of ’11 are signed, coaches begin fully the task of piecing together the Class of 2012. In terms of the recruiting calendar, programs are now in what is termed the “quiet period” through April 14, when the only in-person contact can come on a college campus - meaning players can take unofficial visits and meet with coaches there, but players can't go to high schools and meet with players there. Phone contact is also allowed.

UB had several recruits on campus for Tuesday night’s UB-Ohio game and is hosting a Junior Day this Sunday. Over 250 prospects are expected to attend.

Coaches are mostly reviewing film and conducting other forms of research on prospects to begin laying the groundwork for the spring visitation period which runs from April 15-May 31. A small amount of prospects around the country from next year’s class have already made a handful of commitments. UB, nevertheless, does not yet have a commitment for 2012 although they’ve made offers to key prospects including St. Francis tailback Akeel Lynch (6-1, 190) and Canisius defensive tackle Corey Madlock (6-2, 255). The Bulls will extend offers to St. Joe’s quarterback Chad Kelly (6-2, 205), the nephew of Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, and Depew tackle Jaden Cotton (6-5, 291).

There are 6-10 FBS prospects from the area from the ’12 class and four in 2011 with the Bulls signing three – quarterback Joe Licata, athlete Dale Stewart and lineman John Kling.

---Rodney McKissic


UB-Ohio Game Analysis

Ohio  76, UB 69

How Ohio Won: Bobcats' extended defense forced Bulls into 16 turnovers that resulted in 25 points. Bulls point guard Byron Mulkey had a rough go in second half under the eye of Ohio's D.J. Cooper. Mulkey was 2 of 8 from floor with three turnovers post-intermission. Bulls were beaten repeatedly off the dribble, which left post players in odd-man situations trying to defend the paint.

Turning Point: Bulls trailed 69-67 when Mitchell Watt swatted away a Cooper shot off a drive. DeVaughn Washington recovered and the ball found Cooper outside the arc, from where he swished the three-point dagger that settled the issue.

Player of the Game: No choosing between Cooper and Ohio forward Ivo Baltic, who riddled the Bulls on the inside. Both finished with 24 points. Baltic also had nine boards, Cooper five assists and three of Ohio's 10 steals.

Stat of the Game: The Bulls blocked six shots in the first half, one in the second.

Stat of the Game II: Bobcats went 17 of 23 from the floor in the second half.

Freshman Moment: Javon McCrea produced 15 points, six rebounds and three blocks. But that crossover dribble near the arc that resulted in a late turnover? Put it back on the shelf.

They Said It: Ohio coach John Groce on what he said to Mulkey during postgame handshakes: "What I basically said to him in a nutshell was I don't know if I'll see you again. You never know how this thing works. If I don't, I just want to let you know I've been extremely impressed with you not just as a basketball player, but with leadership ability and the way he empowers his teammates. It's obvious from watching film. And I think the great lead guards have an ability to make other players better and I've been really impressed with him watching him on film and I've enjoyed competing against him because he's a real competitor."

They Said It II: "Not revenge, but I think all of us had a chip on our shoulder. We felt we shouldn't have lost that game up 18 points at halftime." -- Cooper on Ohio's mindset after UB's comeback victory in the first meeting.

What It Means: That's two straight losses and three in the last four games for the Bulls, who now find themselves, at 7-5, just a game ahead of sixth-place Ohio in the East.

In the House: There were just less than 2,000 on hand including alum of the month James Starks, RB for the Super Bowl champs.

Next Up: Bulls step out of conference Saturday night to face visiting Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the ESPN BracketBuster. It comes at a good time for a team whose confidence has suddenly gone fragile.

-- Bob DiCesare




Ohio @ UB Live


FINAL: Ohio 75, UB 67

Ohio 65, UB 64, 3:35: Cooper step-back 18-footer puts Ohio back on top.

Ohio 62, UB 60, 5:21: Bobcats take first lead on six straight points by Baltic.

UB 60, Ohio 54, 7:39: Alston scored a rebound basket after McCrea tip underneath keeps ball alive.

UB 56, Ohio 49, 9:15: McCrea's amazing. He has six of UB's last eight, all on the inside.

UB 46, Ohio 38, 14:13: Both teams on fire in second half. Filzen has a pair of threes for UB, Tommy Freeman a pair for Ohio. But Freeman limped off with what looked like a hip.

UB 50, Ohio 46, 11:03: Freeman's fine. He nailed another three.



UB 9, Ohio 7, 15:25: Filzen has five for Bulls, who forced Ohio timeout at 18:08 after opening 7-2 lead. Ohio's standout guard, D.J. Cooper didn't start but subbed in after timeout. Apparently he's had some ankle issues although I haven't seen proof of it so far. DeVaughn Washington has five for Ohio, two on a vicious slam following a steal of a Mulkey pass.

UB 15, Ohio 9, 11:47: Jarod Oldham just came off bench to nail a three for Bulls. Cooper has four for Bobcats on a pair of pretty drives.

UB 22, Ohio 11, 8:04: Bobcats couldn't wait for media timeout as Watt jam off Oldham alley-oop caps seven-point run.

UB 26, Ohio 22, 3:01: Ohio answered UB 7-0 run with an 8-0 spurt keyed by Cooper. UB having a block party on defensive end. I think they're at seven. UB just introduced alum James Starks, tailback for the Super Bowl champion Packers. He's signing autographs at the half.

HALFTIME: UB 32, Ohio 24: Jam by McCrea off spin move was breathtaking. Bulls have to take better care of ball after intermission.


7:36 start tonight at Alumni Arena. UB (15-8, 7-4) coming off its worst loss of the season, 78-65, at Eastern Michigan. Ohio (12-13, 5-6) had a four-game win streak snapped with an 85-83 loss at Western Michigan. Bulls won first meeting of season, 73-68, coming from 18 down at the half.

East Division standings: Kent St. 8-2, Miami 8-3, UB and Bowling Green 7-4, Akron 6-5, Ohio 5-6. Kent has league's best RPI at 87. UB is 160, Ohio 213. Conversely, four members of the West have RPIs of 302 or higher.

-- Bob DiCesare




Starks honored tonight at UB

James Starks, who won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers, will be recognized during tonight’s men’s basketball game against Ohio University. Starks, UB's career leader in rushing despite missing his senior season with a shoulder injury, started at running back in the Super Bowl for Green Bay.

---Rodney McKissic


Bona finds depth

---St. Bonaventure's depth gives the Bonnies some legs.

---Seth Davis gets inside info from scouts on 53 of the top college players in the country.

---Eamonn Brennan writes that Cincinnati's Mick Cronin may need to drop the beef he has with star big man Yancy Gates.

---Seton Hall coach Frank Willard had no choice but to dismiss Keon Lawrence and Jamel Jackson.

---Wyoming fired Heath Schroyer, making him the first coach to be fired mid-season this year. San Diego State's Steve Fisher ripped the university for their poor decision-making skills and Fisher has already been reprimanded for his comments.

---Radford head coach Brad Greenberg has been suspended for the rest of the season because of NCAA violations.

---Somebody from Indiana's 1976 national championship team is selling his ring.

---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 |