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UB's Jones leaving for Notre Dame

---Ernest Jones, the University at Buffalo’s associate head coach who served as the point man in the Bulls’ recruiting efforts, has accepted a position at Notre Dame.

Jones will be reunited with Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly, whom he coached with at stops at Central Michigan and Cincinnati, in a newly created position dealing with player development.

Jones declined comment when contacted by The Buffalo News.

In addition to his duties as recruiting coordinator, Jones also coached the Bulls cornerbacks. The Bulls ranked ninth in the Mid-American Conference in pass defense in 2011 with a group of several newcomers in the secondary, and ranked second in 2010.

But Jones most impressive work has been as the program’s recruiting coordinator for Jeff Quinn’s first three classes, the latest which was unveiled earlier this month.

Prior to arrival of Quinn, UB was usually scrambling before Signing Day to fill slots but had this year’s class as well as the 2011 group completed well before the first Wednesday in February. The first recruit from the 2012 class, Canisius High’s Corey Madlock, committed to the Bulls 11 months ago.

Jones is the second member of the Bulls coaching staff to leave the program joining defensive coordinator William Inge who is now the assistant defensive line coach with the Buffalo Bills.

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

Niagara-Siena Game Analysis

Niagara 58, Siena 54

How Niagara Won: Not easily. The Purple Eagles negated Siena's inside dominance by turning 17 Saint turnovers into 21 points and getting a career-high 24 points from freshman swingman Ameen Tanksley on his birthday. Somehow that helped Niagara overcome being pulverized 40-25 collapsing, double-teaming defense that limited the 6-8 junior to nine points and eight rebounds. He ripped them for 27 and 14 the last time out.

Player of the Game: Tanksley had a birthday game he won't soon forget. He shot 8 of 12 from the field including 6 of 9 from three and exceeded his previous career high by nine points. He also produced three of Niagara's eight steals. On a night when Antoine Mason wasn't himself it was a huge and necessary performance.

Play of the Game: Mason seemed frustrated early when he didn't get a couple foul calls and just meandered his way through the opening 39 minutes and 45 seconds. And then he slashed his way to the basket from near the top of the key to score his only points of the night and put Niagara in front for good with 13.5 seconds on the clock.

Unsung Hero: Marvin Jordan stepped up and key moments and finished with six points, four assists, no turnovers and one very big steal. He stole the inbounds pass and hit a three after two Juan'ya Green free throws to put Niagara on top by two with four minutes left. It was Niagara's first field goal in nine minutes.

Stat of the Game: There were five ties and six lead changes.

Unpredictable: Players on both sides were miffed by what constituted a foul as no-calls prevailed most of the night. And then, just like that, Anosike picked up three quick ones and was disqualified with 2:01 to play. Doubtless the three officials on this one -- Joe Demayo, Brian Dorsey and Tim Attanasi - have had better nights. The trio was inconsistent and then some.

They Said It

Siena coach Mitch Buonaguro: "Tanksley made some huge threes. He really in the first half kept them ahead. And then he made a couple big shots in the second half. But our defense I thought was really sound. I thought we defended them well. I think they shot in the high 30s (38 percent). Anytime you can hold a team like Niagara at home to that shooting percentage I think speaks to our defense."

Antoine Mason on Niagara getting the most out of Tanksley: "Saturday's his birthday, too."

In the House: Just 1,314 at the Taps. The students jumped off the bandwagon after five straight defeats.

What It Means: The Purple Eagles and Saints are tied for sixth at 5-9. One of them will likely finish there and avoid a first-round MAAC Tournament game. The other appears destined to face Canisius in the 7-10 game. Four games remain.

Next Up: Niagara entertains Rider Saturday afternoon while Siena crosses Grand Island and heads for Canisius.

-- Bob DiCesare

 

 

 

Rider-Canisius live blog

Niagara vs. Siena Live

Big 4 Hoops Chat

Bona women crack Top 25

And there was much rejoicing among the St. Bonaventure basketball faithful and the growing number who are following, with a certain amount of passion, the women's program this season. After lingering in the "receiving votes" category, the Bona women cracked the Associated Press Top 25 this afternoon, checking in at No. 25.

It is the first time in Big 4 history that a women's team has cracked the Division I national rankings. And, chew on this: It's the first time since January 1971 that a Big 4 team, men's or women's has been nationally ranked. That was the last time the Bona men were in the rankings, a year before the women's program came into existence by the way. Big 4 history guru Mike Harrington noted the Canisius men had been ranked in the 1950s and Niagara in 1969-70, Calvin Murphy's senior year.

Along with the news, the latest edition of Charlie Creme's bracketology came out on ESPN.com today. It places the Bona women as the No. 6 seed against No. 11 Middle Tennessee.

The Bona women have been building this resume for the past few years. Consider this is now the fourth straight year the Bonnies have won 20 or more games. Consider that for the last three years the team ahs gone to the WNIT.

Two things, however, are particularly interesting:

Bona fans, particularly out in Twitter, have been incredulous about the lack of respect the program had received from the AP voters. When was the last time there was a groundswell of general passion over a Big 4 women's baksetball team? Oh that's right. Never.

With no disrespect to other Big 4 programs, particulalry the impressive 2005 Canisius women's team, women's Division I basketball has produced mostly mediocre results. Give a quick glance in the history section on the official websites. That the Bonnies is a presumptive NCAA team even if they don't win the A-10 tournament is the kind of talk long-time observers of the Big 4 women's scene find fascinating and unfathomable.

--- Amy Moritz

Canisius-Niagara Women's Analysis

Canisius 58, Niagara 57

How Canisius Won: The Griffs were down 10 and squandering possessions en masse before righting their wrongs midway through the second half. They turned up the defense, limiting to Niagara to one field goal the rest of the way. They cut down on the turnovers. And they got a highlight film of a drive from Ashley Durham to win it a hair before the buzzer.

Player of the Game: Having chastized herself for missing two FTs (she shoots 90% from the stripe in the MAAC), Durham drove the length of the floor on the final Canisius possession and banked home a wide layup over center Lauren Gatto. That more than offset Durham's five turnovers. She finished with nine points and seven assists.

Best Supporting Role: Jamie Ruttle owned the paint, scoring 17 points in 34 minutes. She also helped limit Gatto to six points. Gatto had 15 in the first meeting.

Stat of the Game: Niagara shot 9 of 19 from three against a team that had limited its last 16 conference foes to a cumulative 24.9%. Freshman Meghan McGuinness had three of them.

What It Means: Canisius improved to 11-12 overall and 5-7 in conference in winning their first conference road game and notching their third victory in the last four starts. Niagara (8-16 5-7) has yet to string together consecutive victories.

They Said It . . .

Niagara coach Kendra Faustin (a former Canisius assistant): "A traditional Canisius-Niagara game. It'll always be a good game."

Canisius Coach Terry Zeh: "I'm not going to lie to you. I hate Kendra coaching here. I hate it. She's a very, very good friend of mine and I think it's the most difficult thing in the world."

In the House: 287 at the Taps.

Next Up: Niagara swings through Manhattan and Iona next weekend. Canisius travels to Rider and Saint Peter's.

Bob DiCesare

Canisius-Niagara Women's Hoops Live

WBB Live Blog: George Washington at St. Bonaventure

Final: Bona 80, GW 69. The Bonnies are now 22-2 overall and 9-0 in the A-10. They've won 11 straight.

Second half

3:51 left: Bona leads, 73-59. Jenkins has 32 points and eight three pointers. Bona also raised more than $3,000 for the Play 4 Kay/WBCA Foundation.

7:59 left: Bona leads, 65-51. Jessica Jenkins has seven three pointers. 'Nuff said.

11:49 left: Bona leads, 54-47. Another traditional three-point play from Walker helps the Bonnies, but she missed a layup later and GW got one back. The Colonials will be going to the line out of the break.

14:13 left: Bona leads, 51-42. The Bonnies came out solid heled by two more three-pointers from Jenkins and an aggressive and impressive drive from Alaina Walker for a traditional three-point play. Don't count GW out, though. They're going punch for punch now and look poised to counterpunch.

Halftime: Bona leads, 38-31 as it's offense and defense started to click. Jenkins has 17 points hitting 4 of 8 from three-poitn range. Bona had five turnovers, mostly early in the game, to GW's one. Second half keys include Bona taking better care of the ball, hitting the boards an suring up their defense.

First half

2:56 left: GW leads, 29-28. Jenkins had two more three-pointers, but GW is getting easy looks and now has some confidence in their shots. Bona will ahve the ball out of the time out after getting three straight offensive rebounds. Jenni Ashton has three offesnive rebounds but seems hestitant to go up strong with the putback, chsoing instead to reset the offense. 

6:54 left: GW leads, 21-20. The scoring has gone back and forth now. Bona has a bit more energy but needs to get consistent especially on the defensive end. As a bonus, that timeout had the dizzy bat promotion. Haven't seen that one in a while. Good times.

10:47 left: Bona leads, 14-13. Back-to-back three-pointers by Jessica Jenkins sparked the Bona offense, but GW came back, with Myers knocking down a three before the timeout to close the gap to one an stop the Bona run.

15:57 left: GW leads, 6-4. Bona has been a bit flat to start the game espeically on the offesnive end and in rebounding. The Bonnies will get everyone's best game and GW is pretty decent on defense. Myers opened the scoring with a jumper and broke the 1,000-career scoring mark.

OLEAN -- The Reilly Center is decorated in pink as the St. Bonaventure women's basketball team celebrates Play 4 Kay, the annual breast cancer awareness game in conjunctio with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and named for legendary NC State women's coach Kay Yow.

On the court, the Bonnies are looking to extend their 10-game winning streak. Bona is 8-0 in the Atlantic 10, 21-2 overall and just missing the Associated Press Top 25.

The Colonials are 10-11 with a 3-4 record in the A-10. Senior guard Tiana Myers has 999 career points and should break the 1,000-point mark early in the game. Myers has averaged 18 points in the last two games for GW. The Colonials also boast one of the best defenses in the conference, ranking second in sterals (10.6 per game) and turnver over margin (plus-3.81).

Bona has wone three of the last four meetings between.

--- Amy Moritz

Tressel taking job at Akron

Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel is moving back to the college game after a stint with the Indianapolis Colts by accepting an administrative position with Akron of the Mid-American Conference. His duties were expected to be spelled out at a news conference this morning. Tressel has a graduate degree from Akron and was part of the search committee that recently hired Terry Bowden as head coach of the Zips. Akron seems determined to rejuvenate a program's that's grown stagnant despite the presence of one of the best football facilities in the conference.

-- Bob DiCesare

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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 | bdicesare@buffnews.com


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 | amoritz@buffnews.com

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