January 21, 2012 - 12:55 PM
Fordham will be without 6-7 forward Chris Gaston, one of the top players in the Atlantic 10, for this afternoon's 2 p.m. start at Bona. Gaston was ejected for throwing a punch late in the first half of Wednesday's win over Rhode Island. The transgression carries a one-game suspension.
Gaston averages 15.4 points and 10.4 rebounds. He went off for 35 against West Texas and had 18 and 10 in the Rams' upset of nationally ranked Harvard.
Did You Know?: Cool item in the Fordham press notes. The Rams participated in the first game ever played with the 3-point line -- on Feb. 7, 1945. The arc -- at 21 feet -- was used on an experimental basis, with Columbia making 11 and Fordham nine. What's more, players had the option of shooting two-point free throws from behind the arc. Eight of those were made. Neat stuff. I had no idea.
-- Bob DiCesare
January 20, 2012 - 12:55 AM
Niagara 75, Canisius 56
How Niagara Won: Redshirt Antoine Mason is the scorer it looked like he would be before injury cut short his true freshman season. And Marvin "The Microwave" Jordan? When he's hitting threes, watch out. The scoring exploits of those two, Juan'ya Green's passing and a zone that befuddled Canisius during the game's key juncture was all Niagara needed to run its winning streak to a season-high three games. The Purple Eagles are simply more talented and deeper.
Player of the Game: Mason said earlier in the week how he relished rivalry games. It showed. He had a game-high 22 points in his Niagara-Canisius debut and cut short a late Canisius rally with a mid-range jumper in the face of tough defense. That gave Niagara a seven-point lead with a little more than 5 minutes left. The Purple Eagles soared from there.
Missing in Action: This is the second time Harold Washington has disappeared against a Big 4 rival. He was no where to be found at UB. He faded to the background in this one, scoring just six points and none until 6:35 remained. Washington, a junior transfer, came in averaging 17.6.
Best Supporting Roles: Jordan's fully embraced entering off the bench. He entered and produced three straight threes as Niagara went from down 15-11 to up 20-11. And Green continues to show impressive maturity for a first-year player. Although he came in as the nation's leading freshman scorer, he subordinated himself to a director's role for a second straight game, dishing out a career-high 11 assists to break the mark of nine he set last game out. Looks like he just wants to win.
Stat of the Game: The Griffs went 7:03 without a field goal while Niagara's lead went from 26-19 to 37-21.
Out Indefinitely: Canisius reserve guard Reggie Groves didn't see the floor. He twisted a knee last week and already suffers from severe arthritis in the knees. Coach Tom Parrotta said Groves's future is uncertain.
They Said It . . .
Niagara coach Joe Mihalich on Jordan's torrid start: "I'll always ask the assistants what the warmup was like. All three of them talked about Marvin. They said 'MJ is ready to go.'
Mason on Jordan: "Once the shots started falling it opened up the whole floor. We needed Marvin, The Microwave, to heat up."
Canisius guard Gaby Belardo on the Griffs' offensive struggles : They had some good adjustments in the second half. They were playing tough defense on us. They knew me and Shwan (Alshwan Hymes) were on fire in the first half. They made some adjustments on me and him."
What It Means: Niagara's up to 4-4 in the MAAC and 9-11 overall. The Griffs are 4-14, 1-7.
In the House: A virtual sellout at 2,196. Good showing by the student body. It would have been crisis stage on Main Street had the students turned their backs on a Niagara game.
Next: The upcoming five games should define Niagara's capabilities. They're at Manhattan Sunday, then get Loyola and Manhattan at home before road games at Fairfield and Rider. A 3-2 showing would position them well for the stretch. Canisius continues its search for answers Sunday at Rider.
January 19, 2012 - 5:15 PM
Final: Niagara 66, Canisius 60
3:57 left: Niagara leads, 58-53. It's still too close to call, but Niagara appears to have control of the game. The Griffs aren't immune from creating dramatic comebacks, but the Purple Eagles have plenty of confidence at the moment.
7:44 left: Niagara leads, 50-47. A hard-earned offensive rebound by Jamie Ruttle, a put back and a foul cut the lead to three for Canisius but the Griffs have not been able to get over the hump. On the flip side, Niagara is doing just enough to stay ahead, coming up with the big plays when necessary.
11:20 left: Niagara leads, 46-44. The Griffs are on an 8-2 run and seem to have a bit more energy in the last few possessions.
15:40 left: Niagara leads, 40-36. It's a back-and-forth affair at the moment. So far Niagara has been able to weather the storm, so to speak, but the Griffs are gritty and not ready to concede on their home court.
18:34 left: Niagara leads, 36-33. The Purple Eagles called timeout after Canisius began on a 5-0 run incluidng a three-pointer from Jen Morabito and an offensive putback from Ashley Wilkes.
Halftime: Niagara leads, 36-28. Consider the Purple Eagle are only averaging 50 points a game this season. Niagara is shoooting 47.1 percent (16 of 34) and have 10 points off turnovers and seven second-chance points. It's a balanced scoring sheet for Niagara, led by nine points from Lauren Gatto and Kayla Stroman. For Canisius, Ashley Durham has 10 points, thanks to an 8-for-8 performance from the free throw line.
3:02 left: Niagara leads, 31-21. The Griffs cut the lead to four, 23-10, a three-pointer from Jen Morabito, but threes from Ali Morris and Kayla Stroman paced the Purple Eagles to the first double-digit lead of the game. Ashley Durham will be shooting a pair of free throws out of the time out.
7:26 left: Niagara leads, 21-12. What a performance from the Puprle Eagles. They're finding lanes and gaps in the defense to score points and frustrating the Griffs on the other end. Canisius is settling for three-pointers but not getting any rebounds.
11:27 left: Niagara leads, 13-10. Meghan McGuinness hit a three-pointer to give Niagara the lead. After the teams seemed content to trade missed shots and turnovers, the Purple Eagles started hitting shots and, more importantly, getting offesnive rebounds to reset their offense and produce points. The Griffs offense went cold in that segement.
15:39 left: Canisius leads, 8-4. The Griffs are active and aggressive on defense, but Niagara is quick in the backcourt and can create off turnovers and in the open court. Ashley Wilkes has four points for Canisius, getting good seals in the low post and soldi feeds from the perimeter.
And the Battle of the Bridge invades the Koessler Athletic Center for a basketball doubleheader. Our first game features the women with both Canisius and Niagara looking to end two-game losing streaks.
The Golden Griffins (8-9, 2-4 MAAC) have won the last three meetings and seven of the last 10 with Niagara. It's the 80th meeting between the schools with Canisius holding a 47-32 edge. Canisius continues to be a team which shares the ball well, notching an assist on 69 percent of their field goal attempts -- sixth best in the country. Ashley Durham is averaging 4.2 assists per game.
Niagara (5-13, 2-4 MAAC) is led by sophomore Kayla Stroman who is averaging 9.7 points a game with 58 assists. The Purple Eagles are averaging just 50.5 points a game this season.
--- Amy Moritz
January 18, 2012 - 10:54 PM
UB 82, Akron 70
How UB Won: Zach Filzen found room to shoot. The bench came up big in the first half. Jarod Oldham continues to evolve into a quality Division I point guard. And Mitchell Watt and Javon McCrea played strong against Akron's imposing front line. It all factored in as the Bulls reduced the number of MAC unbeatens to zero.
Player of the Game: Filzen's 21 were huge but Oldham was The Man at point guard. He went for 11 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and three steals in 27 minutes. Only a sophomore, he could throw a triple-double on books before his days here are over.
Opposing Player of the Game: Quincy Diggs came off the bench for 17 points and five rebounds and nailed a pair of threes.
Stat of the Game: UB produced 23 assists on 29 field goals. It was a complete turnaround from Saturday's second half at Miami, when the lumbering offense was plagued by turnovers and managed just 13 shots.
They Said It . .
UB's Mitchell Watt on Akron's front line: "Akron's post playes are pretty tough. I'm pretty impressed with both of them, especially Cvetinovic. He has a motor so he keeps you honest all game. There's really no sitting back with that guy. And Zeke's a (7) footer. So it was a good challenge. I think everybody rose to it."
UB coach Reggie Witherspoon on Cameron Downing's seven-point, three-minute first half: "He did play pretty good didn't he? The Deisel. Big guys sometimes, there's ups and downs, sometimes there's three steps forward two steps back. But we had a lot of conversations with him. And we had a deep conversation last night. He made me tear a hole in my pants. ...It's about getting him to be assertive and aggressive."
Akron coach Keith Dambrot on the showdown: "We knew we were going to get Buffalo's best shot.Their back was against the wall. They had to win. We knew they were going to come at us hard. We knew they're phsyically strong enough to play with us.""
Dambrot on Ohio's 87-65 victory over Kent State Wednesday: "That shocks me. I know Ohio's a good team. They did to us down there last year. But I've never seen that happen to Kent since I've been in the league."
In the House: They announced that 1,700 students were in the crowd of 3,095, the highest student representation since 2005.
What It Means: UB's 2-2 in the MAC and tied for second with Kent, Ohio and Bowling Green. Akron continues to lead the pack.
What's Next: The Bulls travel to Bowling Green Saturday while Akron renews its rivalry with Kent.
-- Bob DiCesare
January 15, 2012 - 6:46 PM
Niagara 86, Marist 67
How Niagara Won: Niagara had just too many scorers, too many offensive options, for a Marist team that can't say the same. The Purple Eagles came out focused, blew out to a 13-3 lead and never looked back. Marist might have used youth as an excuse except that the Purple Eagles are just as young. Niagara starts two true freshmen, a redshirt freshman, a sophomore and a junior.
Player of the Game: Never mind his 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Antoine Mason's best effort came when he hustled back in transition, cut through a crowd in the lane and came out of nowhere to block a Marist layup attempt.
Player of the Game II: Sophomore Malcolm Lemmons went for 15 points, eight rebounds and two assists in 25 minutes.
Stat of the Game: Niagara cruised even though Juan'ya Green failed to score in double figures for the first time in his career.
In the House: There were 1,133 at Taps.
What it Means: Niagara improved to 8-11 overall, 3-4 in the MAAC.
Next Up: It's Niagara at Canisius at 8:30 Thursday night.
-- Bob DiCesare
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About Campus Watch
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.
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.
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