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Live from the Carrier Dome: Bona vs. Syracuse

SYRACUSE -- It's one of the mysteries of the postseason -- why Syracuse is not in the NCAA tournament field With a 23-9 record and an RPI in the 50s, the Orange seemed to be one of the last teams left out of the Big Dance.

But there still is postseason to play, and the Orange host St. Bonaventure in the second round of the WNIT at 7 tonight.

Both teams are making their third straight WNIT appearance with the Bonnies (21-11) advancing after a a 77-43 win over Lehigh in the Reilly Center.

Word around the Dome is that Syracuse was cool with going to Olean and playing in the Reilly Center, but the WNIT wanted the game in the Carrier Dome, a curious decision since the Orange drew just 203 fans in their opening round win over Monmouth. Bona, on the other hand, drew 730 in its opening round game.

In the game on the floor, Bona will need to shoot well from outside to neutralize the size of Syracuse.

Check back for updates throughout the game.

Final: Syracuse wins, 63-50. The Bonnies end their season at 21-12 in the second round of the WNIT for the second straight year.

Second half:

7:54 p.m.: Tip-off!

15:46 left: Syracuse sprinted out of the gate and jumped out to a 37-20 lead but a nicely executed 7-2 run by the Bonnies has cut the lead to 39-27.

11:38 left: The Bonnies don't go away easily. Syracuse holds a 45-35 lead, but Bona is playing with the Orange, making plays to hit three-pointers and getting back at it on the defensive end.

10:11 left: Back-to-back buckets by Chelsea Bowker cut the lead to single digits. Syracuse lead is now just seven, 46-39. The Orange called time out. The Bonnies are in a hole, but they don't quit.

7:37 left: Bona had a chance to cut it to five, but a bad inbounds pass out of a timeout turned into a fastbreak layup for Erica Morrow and the Orange are back up in double digits, 52-41.

3:57 left: Syracuse digs in and takes a 61-41 lead.

Halftime: Syracuse leads, 32-20. Foul trouble hurt Bona's ability to be aggressive on the defensive end and the team in general suffered from a lack of energy, necessary when going against a big, talented team.

First half

7 p.m.: Tip-off!

15:04 left: Bona takes an early 8-6 lead with five points from Megan Van Tatenhove. The Bonnies are playing their normally solid defense but missed their first four shots -- all good looks.

11:49 left: Bona holds a 12-10 lead. Two straight turnovers hurt Bona's chance to extend a 12-8 lead. The game product is good, but the few fans in attendance in the Dome leaves a flat atmosphere. Both teams deserve better.

7:59 left: Syracuse takes a 15-14 lead on a three pointer from Tasha Harris. Bona had trouble finding ways to score in that segment and needs to move the ball a bit quicker and crisper against the Orange to find a few easy buckets.

2:01 left: Syracuse leads, 26-18. The Orange used a 12-0 run to take a 24-14 lead but two buckets from Chelsea Bowker ended the Bona dry spell. The Bonnies are getting into foul trouble. Bona has seven team fouls. Syracuse just three.

--- Amy Moritz

Report: Pearl fired at Tennessee

---Bruce Pearl met with Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton today and was informed of the school's decision to make a move, according to FoxSports.com's Jeff Goodman. Pearl has been working without a contract with the Volunteers since last September, when he admitted lying to NCAA investigators when they were looking into possible recruiting violations made by the Tennessee coaching staff.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Major meltdown

NCAA+Marquette+Syracuse+Basketball_001

---Once Brandon Triche went down during Sunday's NCAA Tournament game against Marquette, Syracuse's chances of advancing to the Sweet 16 disintegrated.

---The Seattle Times Percy Allen wonders if Venoy Overton was really the best option to take the shot with 5.4 seconds left against North Carolina. The refs said they did the right thing by not reviewing Overton's shot.

---VCU isn't satisfied with just getting to the Sweet 16.

---Kyle Singler will need to get out of his shooting slump if Duke wants to win back-to-back national championships.

---If Fairfield's Ed Cooley becomes the next head coach at Providence, would Rakim Sanders follow?

---Billy Gillespie is back and is the new coach at Texas Tech.

---Ron Hunter, the coach at IUPUI will become the new coach at Georgia State.

---Does Larry Brown want to go back to school ?

---With Butler, VCU, Florida State and Richmond in the Sweet 16, teams like Alabama and Colorado must be pretty upset. Colorado is doing their best to prove the selection committee wrong.

---Despite an appearance in the second round of the NCAA tournament, the level of stress and pressure on UCLA coach Ben Howland remains heavy.

---Bruce Pearl fans rallied near the Thompson Bowling-Arena in support of the embattled coach.

---Four seniors from Ohio State graduated prior to the 32-point smackdown they gave George Mason. One proud father showed off his son's degree to the Buckeye fans at the Quicken Loans Arena and was given a standing ovation.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Marquette-Syracuse game analysis

Game analysis: Marquette finished 11th in the Big East and some argued – rather loudly – that the Golden Eagles didn’t belong in the field of 68. Yeah, right. Hello Sweet 16. Marquette pounced on a critical Syracuse turnover and made enough plays down the stretch to advance to Newark for the Sweet 16 after a 66-62 victory over the Orange in a third-round matchup in the NCAA Tournament.

How Syracuse lost: The turnovers, all 18 of ’em, were damaging as Marquette scored 23 points off Orange miscues. Marquette took away Rick Jackson’s offense in the low post and Buzz Williams move to put 6-7 Jimmy Butler on point guard Scoop Jardine, making Jardine’s passing angles more difficult, is one of the reasons why Williams is so respected by his peers.  

Turning point: The Orange’s final turnover of the season came with 51 seconds left on a backcourt violation when freshman Dion Waiters threw a bad pass toward Scoop Jardine who stepped on the halfcourt line. The game was tied at 59 which was quickly broken on a three-pointer by Darius Johnson-Odom. Marquette never trailed again.

Player of the game: Johnson-Odom scored 17 points to lift the Golden Eagles to the round of 16 for the first time since 2003.

Stat of the game: Syracuse was 1-for-8 from long range in the second half.

Stat of the other game: Ohio State outscored George Mason 50-15 to end the first half in what turned out to be a 98-66 Buckeyes laugher. The way they played on Sunday, no one in Newark will be able to keep up with the Buckeyes.

He said it: “We weren’t sure what Sweet 16 meant other than it was our 16th birthday.’’ Marquette coach Buzz Williams whose team joins Ohio State, Kentucky and North Carolina in the East Regional.

What it means: Syracuse finishes its season at 27-8. They only lose Rick Jackson from the starting lineup although there have been rumblings that Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine could put their names in the NBA Draft pool. Yo Scoop, the water is too cold my man.

Up next: If everyone returns and factor in the expected improvement of freshmen Waiters, C.J. Fair and Fab Melo, the Orange will challenge for the Big East crown in 2011-12.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Heath commits to Canisius

Heath ---Josiah Heath, a 6-9, 230-pound center from Irondequoit High in suburban Rochester, has given a verbal commitment to Canisius, according to a source.

One of the top players from the Rochester area, Heath averaged 24 points and 16 rebounds as a senior, while leading Irondequoit to its first Section V title in 66 years. In the sectional final, Heath put together what is being called one of the greatest in Section V tournament history with 26 points, 27 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots in a win over Greece Athena.

This is the second verbal commitment in as many weeks for the Griffs. Last weekend, they landed 6-6 forward Jose Agosto from Tennessee.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Syracuse has time to kill

9394650-large ---Syracuse players do not figure to take the floor at the Quicken Loans Arena for its game against Indiana State until approximately 10 p.m. Jim Boeheim, pictured right, calls freshman Fab Melo the team's X factor but Melo and the other newcomers really aren't freshmen anymore.

---St. John's came looking for more than its its first NCAA Tournament victory in 11 years. It will have to settle for simply making it this far.

---Mike DeCourcy previews some of the possible upsets.

---San Diego State's Steve Fisher finds his way back.

---Will Tennessee's off-court distractions affect its on court performance?

---Did BYU's Noah Hartsock predict Justin Harper's game-winning shot for Richmond?

---Jay Bilas offers up his opinion on how to change the NCAA selection process.

---The NCAA reinstatement committee upheld it's decision to suspend Baylor's Perry Jones.

---Fresno State's Greg Smith has declared for the NBA draft.

---Georgetown's Chris Wright practiced without the protection of his cast.

---Is the NBA's age restriction hurting the NCAA tournament?

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

WNIT Live: St. Bonaventure vs. Lehigh

OLEAN -- For the third straight year St. Bonaventure is making a WNIT appearance, easily making the program the most successful Big 4 program of the Division I era.

At 20-11, the Bonnies are led by juniors Megan Van Tatenhove (14.6 ppg) and Jessica Jenkins (13.0 ppg). Bona has the best defense in the Atlantic 10, allowing just 55.3 points per game.

Lehigh, at 21-10 out of the Patriot League, the Mountain Hawks are making their third straight postseason appearance but first in the WNIT after winning the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons.

Fast facts: Lehigh  leads the series, 2-0, last winning in overtime, 68-66, in the championship of their own tournament on Dec. 30, 2009.

Lehigh is looking for its first postseason win while the Bonnies are 3-2 in the WNIT in the last two years.

Check back for updates throughout the game.

Final: A standing ovation from an enthusiastic Reilly Center crowd as the Bonnies win, 77-43, and advance to the second round of the WNIT for the third straight year.

Second half

15:05 left: Back-to-back three-pointers from Jessica Jenkins gives the Bonnies a 52-27 lead. Alaina Walker had two impressive steals on the defensive end.

10:55: I have see bigger collapses, but the Bonnies feel in charge of this one, leading 56-31.

7:53: And the Bonnies continue to roll, 61-34. In scoreboard watching, Syracuse leads Monmouth, 55-41, with about seven minutes left in the game.

3:54: Bona is getting ready to put this one away, leading 70-41.

Halftime: Bona leads, 37-19. The Bonnies were focused and in charge for the opening half, looking much like a poised team.

First half

15:49: The Bonnies are off to a quick start with a 12-2 lead. Doris Ortega has four points and Jessica Jenkins nailed a three-pointer for the double-digit lead.

11:02: Bona leads, 19-8. Lehigh made a bit of a run, but Megan Van Tatenhove is working hard in the low post and another three from Jenkins keeps the Bonnies rolling.

7:31: There is plenty of time left in this game, but with Bona up, 28-11, it feels a bit like a whopping right about now. Bona led by as many as 20, 28-8, and is playing some of its best defense of the season.

3:20: A three-pointer from Cara Gustafson stops a 7-0 run by Lehigh and the Bonnies enjoy a 33-17 lead. Bona has been focused on both ends of the floor.

--- Amy Moritz

Does NFL misuse the Wonderlic?

Corey_dillon ---Here's a recent story detailing the Wonderlic's history and the daugher of the creator of the test says, "there are problems with the Wonderlic." Here's a few sample Wonderlic questions and as Pro Football Talk notes, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino each scored a 15. Here's even more of a breakdown on the Wonderlic.

---Rivals.com lists the 10 best junior college transfers in college football history, including one of my favorites at No. 10: "Clock Killin" Corey Dillon, pictured right.

---According to Jeff Goodman of FOXSports.com, Duke point guard Kyrie Irving will be on the court Friday.

---Jalen Rose says the Fab Five were the first with the baggie shorts. Kendall Gill and Stephen Bardo say otherwise.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Local wrestlers battle for NCAA title

PHILADELPHIA-- Seven local wrestlers began the hunt for an NCAA Division I Championship title inside the Wells Fargo Center this morning.

Three of those wrestlers still have a shot at it.

University at Buffalo's Kevin Smith and Mark Lewandowski, and American University's Matt Mariacher (Iroquois) advanced to tonight's second round with wins in the preliminary round.

Smith defeated Thomas Mitchell of Liberty, 3-2 in the 133-pound weight division while in the 157-pound bracket Lewandowski (Lancaster) rallied from behind, 0-2, forcing University of Tennessee at Chattanooga's Josh Condon onto his back to secure a pin 3:37 into regulation. Smith will take on No. 2 seed Andrew Hochstasser of Boise State and Lewandowski will face No. 4 seed Bubba Jenkins of Arizona State tonight.

Eleventh-seeded Mariacher defeated Kaleb Friedley of Northwestern, 7-2 in the 141-pound weight class and will face No. 6 seed Andrew Alton of Penn State in the next round.

Tournament

A shot from press row.

UB's Andrew Schutt (141), Desi Green (149), John Martin-Cannon (165) and Brett Correll (285) were defeated in their first matches and will move to the wrestlebacks to try and work their way back to a top eight, All-American status finish.

The twelfth-seeded Green, UB's only seeded wrestler, was ahead of unseeded Eric Terrazas of the University of Illinois, 1-0 in the third and final period of the bout before letting him go to tie the match with 1:50 left. Terrazas scored a takedown on Green with 11 seconds remaining, dashing the junior's dream of a national championship this year.

Tonight's matches will be streamed live on ESPN3.com. ESPNU will have a live broadcast of Friday's quarter and semifinals and Saturday's medal rounds. The finals will air live Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. Here's the full broadcast schedule.

For up-to-date results click here.

Full dose of Madness

Walker

---The season is over for the St. Bonaventure men and UB women basketball teams but March Madness is just beginning.

---Former Indiana State coach Bill Hodges remembers the Sycamores run to the 1979 Final Four.

---Pat Forde has his dream and nightmare scenarios for every tournament team.

---Luke Winn details how power programs adjust to the constant carousel of players and personnel.

---Eamonn Brennan apparently doesn't care for the "First Four" which Greg Couch believes messes with the rhythm of opening weekend of March Madness.

---Doug Gottlieb has gained the ire of Michigan State's Tom Izzo.

---North Carolina State should take the advice other programs have used and not hire a superstar coach.

---Texas Tech has officially interviewed Billy Gillespie for its opening.

---Here's a list of ten teams that can win it all.

---Will these mid-majors make the Final Four?

---Looking for guards? Head to New Jersey.

---Will anybody upstage UConn's Kemba Walker, pictured above?

---Mark Schlabach writes about Florida big man Vernon Macklin.

---A breakdown of how the elite coaches in the country have performed in March Madness.

---A solid list of the biggest/most damaging pre-tournament injuries in the last 20 years.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

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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 | [email protected]


Rodney McKissic

Rodney McKissic

Rodney McKissic began his journalism career in 1989 after graduating from the University of Cincinnati and has worked for The Buffalo News since 2001. A proud father of four children, he enjoys reading in his spare time.

@RodneyMcKissic | [email protected]


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 | [email protected]

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