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Canisius-Longwood Game Wrap

Canisius 82, Longwood 54

How Canisius Won: The Griffs shot 50 percent from the field, a rousing 46 percent from three, forced 15 turnovers and drew four charges -- and not a single player logged more than 29 minutes. What does it say about their depth when leading scorers Billy Baron and Harold Washington combine for eight poits and they still win by 28?

Turning Point: Isaac Sosa drained three threes before the game was 2 1/2 minutes old. That set the tone right there. The Griffs ended up making 13 shots from behind the arc and have canned at least 12 in each of the last three games.

Player of the Game: Sosa attempted 12 shots, all threes, and made eight of them. That's one off the school record Alshwan Hymes set last season.

Best Supporting Role: Washington took just five shots but handed out a season-high seven assists. He had 30 points in last year's win at Longwood.

Stat Check: The Griffs drew four charges and are up to 19 on the season. Consider this: That's more than they took in 30 games last season.

Stat Check II: Longwood won the boards, 40-34, with 16 of those coming on the offensive end. Not good.

What It Means: The Griffs are 7-2 heading into the toughest back-to-back games on the schedule.

They Said It

Griffs coach Jim Baron on the rebounding totals: "We didn't rebound like we did against Syracuse or Marist and that's something we're going to have to be more consistent with."

Baron on Jordan Heath's ankle: "We'll ice him up tomorrow and take it one game at a time."

Baron on 6-foot-10 Freddy Asprilla drawing two charges: "I got a 300-pound guy taking a charge? That is huge. You know how hard that is for a 300-pound guy to take a charge? I mean, that is huge. That's unbelieveable. Because when our guards play matador defense . . . we have to cover down and our bigs have to step in."

In the House: There were 1,205 at the KAC with the students on break.

Next Up: The Griffs head to Philly to meet Temple on Wednesday night then book to Las Vegas for a game with No. 20 UNLV on Saturday.

-- Bob DiCesare

Niagara-Vermont Game Wrap

Niagara 68, Vermont 58

How Niagara Won: What's the Gallagher Center turning into, Fort Niagara? The Purple Eagles forced 19 turnovers and held the Catamounts to 38 percent shooting. They've forced 41 turnovers the last two games in mouting their first winning streak of the season.

Turning Point: The first half was a grind, with Niagara holding a 19-18 advantage. The second half was barely two minutes old when the Purple Eagles had pushed their edge to 28-21. Antoine Mason had five points during the surge and the steal that led to Juan'ya Green's transition layup.

Player of the Game: Mason a sophomore is a different player than Mason the freshman. He's taking better shots and as a result he's making more shots. His 25 points matched his season high set against St. Francis in the second game of the season.

Best Supporting Role: Juan'ya Green scored all 17 of his points in the second half. Green has shown a penchant for becoming more assertive offensively after intermission.

Stat Check: Freshman T.J. Cline came off the bench to pull down a team-high 10 boards in 23 minutes.

Stat Check II: Niagara shot 54.5 percent in the second half (12 of 22) after a 25 percent first half (7 of 28).

What It Means: Niagara (5-6) has won two in a row for the first time this season.

In the House: There were 1,491 at the Gallagher Center with many of the students already on break.

They Said It

Niagara coach Joe Mihalich on what the addition of fifth-year senior transfer Devon White has meant to the defense:

"We knew Devon would make us a better defensive team. He's a big person. He takes up space. He has good instincts. He's active. As he gets in better and better shape I think he'll foul less."

Mason on the addition of White:

"They could see he's a big presence so we can get up on them with more confidence that we have help."

Mihalich on what defense Niagara's actually playing:

"It's good that you can't tell what it is. Now the problem is sometimes we don't know. We're just out there scrambling around."

Next Up: Niagara plays its penultimate non-conference game of the season Friday night at No. 22 Notre Dame.

-- Bob DiCesare

Live blog: Canisius at Bona women's basketball

Canisius-Syracuse Game Wrap

Syracuse 85, Canisius 61

How Syracuse Won: The Orangemen are a team of luxuries. Oft times their toughest decisions resolve around deciding just how they want to score. They went for 40 points in the paint. Netted 23 off turnovers. Hit four threes in each half. There's a lot to like about this Syracuse team. It could be their year.

Turning Point: Syracuse opened the second half all business. A three-point halftime lead ballooned to 50-35 on a Brandon Triche three with 14:55 remaining. Canisius was down double digits the rest of the way.

Player of the Game: Senior forward James Southerland is the energy boost off the bench and it was a sonic boom Saturday night. He poured in a game-high 21 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the field, including 3 of 6 from behind the arc.

Best Supporting Role: Michael Carter-Williams had 13 of his 14 assists in the second half when the Orange broke the game open.

Stat Check: Here's a major positive for Canisius to take forward -- the Griffs won the boards 37-34, including 16 at the offensive end. The progress has been immense since Canisius was beaten by 14 on the boards by UB on Nov. 20.

Stat Check II: The Griffs shot 12 of 30 from behind the arc thanks to a 7 of 14 second half.

What It Means: The No. 4 Orange are 9-0 and sure to climb to at least third in the rankings this week after top-ranked Indiana was knocked off by Butler. The Griffs are 6-2 and saw their second three-game winning streak come to an end.

In the House: There were 18,120 at the Carrier Dome. The students went on break Friday.

They Said It:

"I just take what people give me. My teammates know what my game is and they're going to find me when I'm open. That's their job, and my job is to knock them down." -- Griffs guard Isaac Sosa, who went 5 for 9 from three.

"Killer instinct. Extending the lead. Keeping that thing going." -- Canisius guard Billy Baron on where the Griffs can improve going forward.

"I like their team. I think Jimmy's done a great job." -- Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim on the Griffs.

Next Up: Canisius plays host to Longwood on Monday night at the KAC.

-- Bob DiCesare

Video: Canisius' Jim Baron as guest on Bucky & Sully Show

News Sports Columnists Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan were joined by guest Jim Baron, Canisius basketball coach, today on their weekly "Bucky & Sully Show." View more segments here and watch live at 10 a.m. Fridays on BuffaloNews.com.

Niagara-Hartford Game Wrap

Niagara 75, Hartford 59

How Niagara Won: The Purple Eagles managed to dictate an up-tempo game midway through the first half thanks to their work on the defensive end. They scored 14 straight en route to a 37-20 halftime lead and never were seriously threatened.

Player of the Game: Antoine Mason puts up the points so consistently it's easy to overlook him. Let's not. He had a game-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added seven boards, three assists and three steals. His 15-footer with about three minutes left righted the ship after Hartford rallied to within 10.

Best Supporting Role: Ameen Tanksley matched his season high with 16 points and had a season-best 12 rebounds.

Off the Bench: Malcolm Lemmons was a burst of energy for Niagara. He scored 11 points and had five rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes. He was as responsible as anybody for helping Niagara out of its early slumber.

What It Means: Victory No. 250 for Niagara coach Joe Mihalich. It was the first time all season Niagara (4-6) had all its players available.

Stat Check: Niagara went 14 of 23 from the field in the second half, which helped it overcome 11 turnovers.

Stat Check II: For the game Niagara shot 50 percent from the field, 50 percent from behind the arc and 70 percent from the free throw line. I'll bet it's been a long time since that's happened.

Did You Know: Hartford sophomore Nate Sikma is the son of nine-time NBA All-Star Jack Sikma. He had three points and three rebounds in 30 minutes but turned it over six times.

They Said It: "I don't know how many people know this, but he (Lemmons) missed about three weeks of the preseason. It made a difference for him. . . . So I think that screwed him up a little bit and he's getting it back." -- Mihalich.

"We actually have everybody on the court in practice so it's fun. It's going to be a fun year." -- Mason on Niagara getting back to full health.

"We made some substitutions and some young kids made some rushed plays. To the credit of Niagara, they went after those young kids. Then the flows of the game becomes Niagara's." -- Hartford coach John Gallagher.

"I say it all the time, I'm living the dream. I'm just lucky to be here, lucky to coach guys like these two (Mason and Tanksley) and the rest of the guys on the team. I'm lucky. I'm a lucky guy. I know it too." -- Mihalich on win No. 250.

In the House: There were 1,556 at Taps on a night when the 16th-ranked hockey team was playing across the way at Dwyer Arena.

Next Up: Niagara's home to Vermont at 2 Sunday afternoon. The Catamounts are 6-3 and should contend in America East.

-- Bob DiCesare

WNY College Sports Chat - 3 p.m.

Video: PrepTalkTV: Olean 76, Canisius 73

Last year's number one small school knocks off last year's number one large school.

Live chat: Big 4 basketball with Bob DiCesare at 2 p.m.

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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


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 | rmckissic@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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