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Bona-Niagara Game Analysis

St. Bonaventure 72, Niagara 70

How Bona Won: The Bonnies might be Top 25 material if games were 30, 35 minutes long. They suffocated Niagara perimeter game in building a 17-point lead and then almost frittered it all away when Niagara super frosh Juan'ya Green carved them over the final 10 minutes. Clutch free throw shooting by Demitrius Conger and Chris Johnson came to the rescue.

Player of the Game: Conger is special. He can dribble-penetrate zones, murder man-to-mans, hits the boards at both ends and wants the ball in crunch time. He went off for a career-high 27 points and 11 boards on yet another silent night from Andrew Nicholson.

POTG Runner-up: Juan'ya Green is special, too. He came he second in scoring among the nation's freshman at 19.2 points per game and went off for 32 -- his second 30-plus game. The seven turnovers didn't please Joe Mihalich. But he's a freshman. And I'm telling you, if Green stays healthy he breaks Calvin Murphy's career scoring record.

Stat of the Game: Bona continues to play tight as their coach's personality when the game's on the line. In the second half the Bonnies commited 11 of its 17 turnovers and was victimized for eight of Niagara's 12 steals. They're still desperate for a guard who can settle the offense. Points Eric Mosley and Charlon Kloof combined for 10 turnover against seven assists. Kloof had seven turnovers in 25 minutes.

Stat of the Game No. 2: It's over. Bona has its first win in the last nine games against Niagara.

The Bigger They Are ...: Foul-plagued Nicholson played just 15 minutes, scored nine points and managed all of one basket in the paint against the undersized Purple Eagles. He also was disqualified on fouls for a technical for kicking at Niagara's Ameen Tanksley during a skirmish. Makeit two technicals in two career games at Niagara.

In the House: Great crowd! They posted a sellout at the ticket windows at least 15 minutes before tipoff. And it was at least half Bona fans.

What It Means: Bona improved to 7-5 with its fourth win in the last five games. Niagara's 5-9 and getting more and more dangerous.

Next Up: Bona opens A-10 play Wednesday in the Reilly Center against George Washington. Niagara plays its next three on the road beginning Monday at Loyola (Md.).

-- Bob DiCesare

Bona @ Niagara Live

Niagara-UMBC Game Analysis

Niagara 92, UMBC 75

How Niagara Won: The Purple Eagles forced Maryland-Baltimore County into 17 turnovers, victimized them for 12 steals and shot 13 of 27 from behind the arc. It made no difference that the Retrievers shot 48 percent from the field, not when they got off just 50 shots to Niagara's 64.

News Alert: Not only did Niagara get a strong inside presence from Scooter Gillette and Joe Thomas, they made the effort to get the ball inside. The two combined for 15 points and nine rebounds, with Gillette scoring 11. Just as importantly, Gillette and Thomas both asserted themselves on the offensive end, setting strong screens out top, making purposeful rolls to the basket and muscling inside when called for.

Player of the Game: Marvin Jordan made his first three from the left wing and was feeling it from the outset. His 23 points matched matched his season high set in the opener. He also had five boards, four assists and a pair of steals and finished 6 of 11 from three-point land.

POTG Runner-up: UMBC junior guard Ryan Cook was a whirlwind, scoring a game-high 26 points on 9 of 14 shooting while driving the basket like there was no stopping him. And there wasn't.

Stat of the Game: Niagara turned it over just seven times -- seven fewer than average.

They Said It: UMBC coach Randy Monroe: "I'm not happy with our defense right now. It's putrid and it's got to get better, especially going into conference play."

They Said It II Niagara coach Joe Mihalich: "All my assistants say, 'Hey, let's get iPads.' I say, 'Let's get 6-9 guys. That's what I say. Forget the IPads. Let's get 6-9 guys."

In the House: 1,393. College basketball's just not the same with the students on break.

What it Means: Niagara improved to 5-8 while setting a season high for points.

Up Next: The Purple Eagles haven't rung out a calendar year at home since 2004. They'll do it on Friday, when St. Bonaventure visits the Gallagher Center looking for its first series win in a decade.

-- Bob DiCesare

MBB live blog: Binghamton at Canisius

Final

Canisius 75, Binghamton 66. The Griffs get their first win at home this year.

Second half

3:32 left: Canisius leads, 61-53. It feels as if the Griffs will win this win, if for no other reason than Binghamton will run out of time. The Griffs have been sloppy at times and still haven't put away the Bearcats like they should be able to. But grinding out a win is grinding out a win. Harold Washington has 20 points for the Griffs.

7:45 left: Canisius leads, 55-47. Plenty of time to go in this one and the Griffs no longer have the crispness they head earlier in the half. Byron Brown Jr. entered the game at the 11:37 mark and played some good defense. He is out of the lineup coming out of this timeout.

11:53 left: Canisius leads, 48-41. There is a lack of enthusiasm from the Golden Griffin side of the ball. A bit of energy needed by Canisius to pull this one out.

13:57 left: Canisius leads, 44-35. The Griffs forced two early timeouts from Binghamton thanks to good defense and converting on the fast reak. Back-to-back layups from Harold Washington and Alshwan Hymes gave the Griffs a 44-31 advantage. Since then the Griffs have a miss and a turnover, however, and the Bearcats have scored twice. And with no students on campus, we're hearing old school Usher at the timeout. Not shabby.

Halftime

Canisius leads, 32-28. A three-pointer from Alshwan Hymes helped the Griffs keep the edge heading into halftime. Harold Washington has 12 points to lead all scorers. Both teams are shooting around 40 percent from the field with Canisius have a slight edge in stats across the board. The Griffs led by as many as seven points three different times in the half but failed to create the coveted coaches "separation" from Binghamton. Better defensive focus would help the Griffs in the second half. 

First half

3:42 left: Canisius leads, 27-24. Out of the time out Harold Washington had a steal, solo fastbreak capped by a thunderous dunk for a 27-20 Griffs lead. But two quick buckets by Chris Longoria, including a steal and fastbreak layup of his own, cut the lead back down to three. This is anybody's game.

5:17 left: Canisius leads, 25-20. The Griffs went up by as many as seven, 23-16, on a drive by Reggie Groves, but they can't shake the Bearcats. Binghamton, by the way, has a small but vocal friends and family section behind their bench. Word in the gym is that a block of 45 tickets were purchased as Byron Brown Jr., former City Honors and ECC player and son of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, is a reserve for the Bearcats.

11:48 left: Canisius leads, 14-12. Harold Washington has seven points for the Griffs but the Bearcats are shooting 55.6 percent (5 of 9) from the field.

15:36 left: Binghamton leads, 8-7. Apologies for the delay but time is short during doubleheaders. We pick up eary in the men's game bewteen the Bearcats and Golden Griffs. Binghamton is 0-10 on the season but the Griffs (2-9) are on a four-game losing skid at home this season. It's a win Canisius needs. Some may say needs badly.

Niagara-UMBC Live

WBB live blog: Cornell at Canisius

Final: Canisius 62, Cornell 45

The Griffs extend their winning streak to three games and improve to 6-5 overall. Jamie Ruttle tied her career high with 20 points.

Second half

2:38 left: Canisius leads, 58-41. It's more of the same at the KAC as the Griffs roll to their third straight win.

7:50 left: Canisius leads, 50-31. Jamie Ruttle will be shooting a free throw out of the time out. She has 17 points and seems to have found her groove in the last few games for the Griffs. Just in time for MAAC season after the first of the  year.

11:46 left: Canisius leads, 45-22. Not a lot of scoring. Quite a few turnovers. Yep, it's a 19-point game. Focus can be difficult to maintain at these times on both sides of the scoreboard.

15:43 left: Canisius leads, 41-22. It's been a slow start to the secondh alf, but the Griffs have continued to have the better opportunities created from their defense.

Halftime

Canisius leads, 37-22. The Giffs have six three-pointers and three traditional three-point plays. The Griffs are 6 for 10 from three-point range and shooting 48.1 percent (13 of 27) overall. They also have 11 assists on those 13 baskets. Defensively, Canisius has turned 10 Cornell turnovers into 15 points. The Big Red are shooting just 38.1 percent (8 of 21).

First half

3:46 left: Canisius leads, 32-18. Oh the Griffs feel in control of this one though the last few minutes got a bit sloppy on both ends.

7:43 left: Canisius leads, 28-16. The three-pointers for the Griffs continue, only they're coming in the and-one category. The Griffs look strong and smooth.

10:10 left: Canisius leads, 23-13. A nice 10-0 run by the Griffs took the game from a 13-all tie to a double-digit affair. Three-pointers from Kayla Hoohuli and Ashley Durham bookened the run which featured a nice steal by Jen Morabito who fed a streaking Ashley Wilkes for a layup and a pretty post play by Jen Lennox.

15:50 left: Canisius leads, 6-3. Today's game is brought to you by the three-point arc. All points have been scored on three-pointers so far, though Canisius had a sweet pass into the post, but the shot by Jamie Ruttle just dind't fall. Cornell meanwhile blew a two-on-one fastbreak layup. The Griffs 2-3 zone defense is looking aggressive and solid and appears to be rebounding fairly well. Though it's early. Very early.

Pregame

Welcome to another doubleheader night at the Koessler Center where the Canisius women kick it off hosting Cornell. The Golden Griffins are on a two-game winning streak with victories at Kent State and vs. Albany. The Griffs continue to be an effective passing team, leading the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with 14.4 assists per game. Want more stats? The Giffs have an assist on 72.7 percent of their field goals which ranks second in the country. Junior guard Ashley Durham had back-to-back career highs of eight assists in the last two Canisius wins.

Cornell enters the game at 3-6 overall coming off a 73-49 loss at Manhattan. The Big Red have lost its last four games to MAAC opponnets.

--- Amy Moritz

Big 4 hoops chat with Bob DiCesare

MBB live blog: St. Francis (Pa.) at St. Bonaventure

Final: St. Bonaventure 82, St. Francis 58

Bona's Chris Johnson had a career-high 19 points while Bona shot better than 50 percent for the game to improve to 6-5.

Second half

3:49 left: Bona leads, 75-50. It's all over except the final foul count.

7:52 left: Bona leads, 69-46. And the crowd is loud and on its feet .... because it's the t-shirt toss timeout.

11:30 left: Bona leads, 60-40, but the game continues to drag with fouls. The officials are calling it extremly tight and have been likend to the Grinch by some in the Reilly Center. Any moment now will be a "Let them play!" chant Bad News Bears style.

15:34 left: Bona leads, 55-37. This game may be finished by the time Santa parks his sleigh on the Reilly Center roof. Nine fouls in four minutes of action. Serioulsy, neither of these teams have been that naughty.

Halftime

Bona leads, 49-28. It's not the most exciting game in the world, but a solid showing for the Bonnies. Matt Wright and Chris Johnson each have 12 poitns in a rather balanced scoring sheet for Bona. St. Francis has 12 turnovers which the Bonnies ahve turned into 19 points. The game is slow moving thanks to plenty of whistles. The teams combined for 27 fouls and the Bonnies went 14 of 21 from the line in the half.

First half

3:45 left. Bona leads, 35-21. There is no energy in this building at the moment and it's showing on the Bona end. St. Francis went on a 10-3 run to make it a 33-21 game. Demitrius Conger missed four straight free throws and the Bonnies look a tad disinterested at times.

7:51 left: Bona leads, 30-13. It's an even scoring line for the Bonnies, including a 2-for-3 shooting night for junior forward Jake Houseknecht -- his first field goals of the season. Bona is still shooting the lights out (58. 8 percent, 10 for 17) but getting fastbreak layup opportunities will do that for you.

11:45 left: Bona leads, 19-9. The Bonnies are shooting 53.8 percent (7 of 13) while St. Francis is just 2 of 7 (28.6 percent). Bona's three-quarter court press has created turnovers which they've converted into eight points.

15:44 left: Bona leads, 12-2, despite the fact that big man Andrew Nicholson was whistled for two fouls in the first 47 seconds of the game and promptly went to the bench. But enter Matt Wright who has a three-pointer and a traditional three-point play and Chris Johnson hit two quick layups to give the Bonnies a double-digit lead early.

Pregame

Olean -- The St. Bonaventure men's basketball team is looking to erase the memory of Tuesday's last-second loss to NC State when they host St. Francis (Pa.) in the Reilly Center. The Bonnies could use a complete game, one which finishes in a win, in order to stay on Santa's good side. While 5-5 against this schedule is OK, near misses against top teams -- Cleveland State, Illinois and NC State -- and the regretable loss at home to Arkansas State haven't jived with the expectations around this team.

The Red Flash went 0-6 in November but have won three of their last five games. St. Francis lost its best player, junior guard Umar Shannon, to a knee injury after he scored 26 points in the team's season-opening loss at VCU. Then the Red Flash lost point guard Chris Johnson, who was booted from the team after eight games for violating team and university rules.

--- Amy Moritz

MBB live blog: Loyola (Chicago) at Canisius

Final: Loyola (Chicago) 59, Canisius 45

Second half

3:32 left Loyola leads, 44-39. A three-pointer from Alshwan Hymes ended a 10-0 run for the Ramblers.

7:33 left: Canisius leads, 36-32. Gabby Belardo has 10 points, seven in this half and five in the last three minutes. He is playing aggresive and his teammate are following his lead. No wonder the Griffs missed him while he was out with a back injury.

10:40 left: Canisius leads, 32-30. The teams traded baskets but the Griffs seem to have a bit of an edge in momentum. In this game, which appears to be on a first-to-45 pace, that momentum can switch with one bucket.

13:22 left: Canisius leads, 30-28. Loyola calls time out. Gaby Belardo has played well in this segement both on defense and leading the transition offense. A nifty inbounds play which set up Josiah Heath for a layup gave the Griffs the lead back and forced the Ramblers to use a timeout to settle.

15:10 left: Loyola (Chicago) leads, 26-25. The Griffs started the half on a 5-0 spurt but the Ramblers have gotten to the free throw line with strong play in the paint. Four straight free throws gave Loyola back the lead.

Halftime

Loyola (Chicago) leads, 20-18. Ben Averkamp broke a long-standing 18-18 for the Ramblers. Alshwan Hymes and Josiah Heath missed shots for the Griffs in the final seconds to send Canisius into the break trailing by two. Turnovers have hurt Canisius. The Ramblers have scored 12 points off 10 Canisius turnovers.

First half

2:16 left: Tied, 18-18. Canisius is shooting 42.1 percent (8 of 19) but has 8 turnovers, hurting their cause.

7:46 left: Canisius leads, 12-10. Back and forth action with neither team asserting itself just yet. Random observation: It is a weird atmosphere at mid-major programs when school is not in session and the students are gone. It's not dead in the KAC just a different feel.

11:23 left: Canisius leades, 8-6. Apologies for lack of pregame notes. Doubleheaders aren't easy to manage for one reporter across multiple platforms. But on to the game. The Griffs are looking to start a win streak after picking up victory No. 2 at South Dakota on Sunday. Loyola (Chicago) is 4-7 overall and on a three-game win streak, coming off a victory agaisnt Rockhurst.

--- Amy Moritz

WBB live blog: Albany at Canisius

Final: Canisius 64, Albany 60.

Second half

3:04 left: Canisius leads, 59-51. Plenty of time left in this one but the Griffs have some momentum on their side. They seem to have found their shooting touch at just the right time.

7:50 left: Albany leands, 45-44. A jumper from LIndsey Lowrie gave the Great Danes back the lead after the Griffs struggled with a few missed shots. 

10:54 left: Canisius leads, 40-39. Jen Morabito hit a three-pointer to give the Griffs the lead. Canisius is much more aggressive on both ends of the floor this half and playing a bit more structured though freshman center Megan Craig has been a tough matchup in the last few minutes. The reserve is 6-foot-8 and hs drawn a few fouls by the Griffs defense.

13:56 left: Albany leads, 36-32. The Griffs are on a 7-0 run and able to score once they get set up in their offense. Stops and Albany turnovers have helped the Canisius cause as the Great Danes can't set up their press which has been giving Canisius fits all night.

18:49 left: Albany hits a three and scores a layup off a backcourt turnover for five quick points to extend its lead to 36-25. Canisius coach Terry Zeh called a timeout.

Halftime

Albany leads, 31-25. Albany has a 24-16 advantage in rebounds including grabbing 11 on the offesnive end.

First half

3:35 left: Albany leads, 25-19. Canisius has no breathing room when it has the ball as the Albany defense is aggressive and smoothering. Three-point shooting by the Great Danes has kept them with the edge.

7:41 left: Albany leads, 20-15. The Great Danes went up by as many as 7, 20-13, thanks again to offensive rebounding and hustle after loose balls. Canisius has been able to muscle through for some points but can't get in a consistent rhythm on either end of the floor.

11:47 left: Albany leads, 10-8. Lots of missed shots and turnovers. The Great Danes have a rebounding edge as the Griffs are having trouble getting to missed shots out of the zone. But Albany is having trouble converting opportunities to points. And up an down the floor we go.

15:42 left: Albany leads, 8-6. The pace is quick to start the game as Albany likes to press and push the tempo. The Griffs shot out to a 6-3 lead but three straight turnovers against the press and two missed shots have kept them cooled off. The Great Danes have missed their last four shots as well.

Pregame

Welcome to doubleheader Thursday in the Koessler Center, kicking off with the women's game between Canisius and Albany. The Golden Griffins are coming off an 81-64 win at Kent State on Sunday.

The Griffs are 4-5 this year and while they have plenty of things they want to do better, sharing the ball has been a high pont. Canisiuis leads the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with 14.3 assists per game. They have an assist on 73.3 percent of their field goals, rnaking second highest in the country.

Freshman Kayla Hoohuli continues to be impressive, winnign the MAAC Rookie of the Week honor for the second time this season. She had 15 points and five rebounds in the win at Kent.

Albany is 6-4 and on a three-game winning streak notching victories against Siena, Niagara and Sacred Heart.

Neither team is scoring a boatload of points -- Canisius is averaging 55.9 while Albany is averaging 58.5 Expect a low-scoring game with the key being which team takes better care of the ball and gets more value out of its possessions.

--- Amy Moritz

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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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