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WNY College Sports Chat - 3 p.m.

Canisius-Niagara a Sellout

Sunday afternoon's first seasonal meeting between Canisius and Niagara is a sellout, the Griffs just announced. All 2,000-plus tickets have been purchased. The day begins with the Canisius-Niagara women's game at 1 p.m. followed by the men at 4 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on ESPN3.

-- Bob DiCesare

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

UB-Bowling Green Game Wrap

UB 68, Bowling Green 65

How UB Won: The Bulls did a solid job defensively on BG's top scorers, A'uston Calhoun and Jordan Crawford. They loosened up the Falcons' zone with seven treys. They cut down on the turnovers (10) and got the ball where it needed to be down the stretch -- in the hands of Javon McCrea.

Turning Point: Bowling Green was up 10 when Crawford committed a senseless reach-in foul on Cameron Dowing with three-tenths of a second left in the first half. Downing made both free throws, cutting the deficit to single digits, and the Bulls drew even by opening the second half with a 10-2 run.

Player of the Game: McCrea said three games ago he needed to take on more of a leadership role. He went off for 21 points and 14 boards against the Falcons, and get a load of these numbers the last two games: 54 points, 16-27 FG, 22-24 FT, 24 rebounds, four blocks.

Best Supporting Role: Sometimes Jarryn Skeete plays like the freshman point guard he is. Saturday he played like what a coach hopes a freshman grows into. He had a career-high 16 points, six rebounds and turned it over just once.

Stat Check: Both teams made seven treys. Both totaled nine assists. Both committed 18 fouls. That's how even it was.

What It Means: UB snapped a four-game losing streak and broke into the MAC win column. The Bulls are 6-12, 1-3. Bowling Green fell to 6-11, 1-3. The Falcons have lost five of their last six -- with all the losses coming on the road.

In the House: The crowd of 3,026 including All-MAC football players Khalil Mack, Steven Means and Alex Neutz. They were recognized on the court early in the first half.

They Said It:

BG Coach Louis Orr: "I thought for us the first three minutes of the second half probably .... was really kind of the difference in the game."

Orr on McCrea: "He's a guy who really creates a lot of contact. So referees, he makes them have to make some kind of call. He's a tough cover. Not just because of his talent and he's kind of ambidextrous, and his second and third effort, but because he creates contact."

Auraum Nuiriankh, on his two threes inside the first four minutes of the second half: " It's always a good thing when you see the ball go in as a basketball player. We've had a little bit of a struggle with shooting the ball but confidence-wise nobody's really suffered, nobody's really felt sad because we missed a couple shots."

UB Coach Reggie Witherspoon: "The biggest thing was our passing. Sometimes the passes weren't on time, sometimes they weren't on target. And as that gets better our shooting will get better and our turnovers will get less. Tonight the turnovers got less. The shooting got better, too."

Next Up: The Bulls step out of the MAC East for the first time with Wednesday's game at Ball State. Four of the next five are on the road.

-- Bob DiCesare

Niagara-Manhattan Game Analysis

Game analysis: Niagara came back in the final four minutes and did one very key thing -- make free throws -- to earn a 64-40 win over Manhattan in the Gallagher Center.

How Niagara won: The Purple Eagles adjusted to a solid defense from Manhattan. Without being able to handle their pressure well or get in an offensive rhythm, they started to drive and be aggressive around the rim. That led to foul calls. A lot of them. And that led to free throws. Niagara shot 38 of 49 from the free throw line.

Turning Point: With the Jaspers clinging to a two-point lead with 2:55 left to play, Antoine Mason was called for a blocking foul (although it really did look like an illegal screen). The officials put Shane Richards on the line for the one-and-one and he made the first shot. Niagara was protesting the wrong guy was on the line. The officials checked the replay and agreed. The point came off the board and Roberto Colonette went to the line. He missed the front end. Momentum switched after that.

Player of the Game: Antoine Mason had a game-high 15 points and went 13 of 16 from the free throw line. This after going 1 for 5 from the field. That's not just good play in the game. That's a sign of growth as a player.

Key stat: Free throws. Niagara went 38 of 49. Manhattan went 13 of 20. The Jaspers were called for 28 fouls. Niagara for 18.

Balanced scoring: While Niagara had just four assists (then again they only had 12 field goals) four players hit double figures -- Mason (18), Ameen Tanksley (13), Tahjere McCall (12) and T.J. Cline (11). 

What It Means: Niagara continues its best start in the MAAC since 1998-99 improving to 7-1 and 11-8 overall.

In the House: 1,557

He said it: "I'm disappointed with the free throw differential tonight. I find that hard to take in college basketball. That doesn't take credit away from Niagara." -- Manhattan coach Steve Masiello. 

Up next: Niagara travels to Albany to meet Siena at 7 p.m. on Friday.

---Rodney McKissic

Siena-Canisius game analysis

Game analysis: Billy Baron and Harold Washington combined for 14 points but it didn't matter because defense was the fuel that drove Canisius to a 76-44 victory over struggling Siena.

How Canisius won: Canisius likes to run and gun with little regard for defense so the numbers against the Saints were staggering. They held Siena to 32.7 percent shooting, forced 20 turnovers and had 13 steals and six blocks. They also pressured Siena point guard Evan Hymes into nine turnovers. The Saints 44 points scored tied a Koessler Center record for fewest points by an opponent.

Turning Point: Seriously, Siena was never in this game. After Canisius took a 7-4 lead, it outscored the Saints 35-15 by halftime.

Player of the Game: At 6-6 Chris Manhertz may be undersized but it's undervalued: 12 points, 11 boards, two blocks.

Key stat: Canisius committed just four turnovers, one in the first half.

Welcome back: Alshwan Hymes returned to the lineup after serving a suspension for a violation of team rules scored 11 points on 5 of 8 from the floor in 24 minutes. He's apparently back in the good graces of coach Jim Baron.

"He gives us high energy off the bench and that's important," Baron said. "As we move forward, everyone needs to know their role. Whenever you take over a program, it's always balancing it out and it's a team effort. Everybody wins when we win. When you play in a league like this - and I'm coming from the Atlantic 10 - you need a good amount of players. You need a bench. And the way we play uptempo, pushing the ball and attacking, we need guys off the bench to give us quality minutes and that was important today."

What It Means: Canisius moves up to 12-7 overall and 5-2 in MAAC play.

In the House: 2,001 on Hall of Fame Day.

He said it: "It was one of our best defensive efforts with guys understanding what we needed to do with post position help defense and keeping guys in front. We have to carry it over because we have two games this week that are going to be very, very challenging, one on the road at Rider and coming back with Niagara so we have to take them one game at a time." - Canisius coach Jim Baron

Up next: The Golden Griffins hit the road against Rider for a 7 p.m. game Friday.

---Rodney McKissic

Waltman named an A-10 Legend

By Amy Moritz

St. Bonaventure guard Hilary Waltman can add another honor to her resume. She was named as part of the Inaugural Women's Basketball Legends, one of 16 women recognized for their contributions by the Atlantic 10.

The group is comprised of former players who began their collegiate basketball careers after 1976. 

Waltman is the program's all-time leading scorer with 2,106 points and is the only plaeyr in program history to be twice named to the A-10's All-Conference First Team.

During her four-year career from 1995-99, the Bonnies went 51-60 overall and 24-40 in the conference. 

Waltman was inducted into the St. Bonaventure Athletic's Hall of Fame this past sumer.

The Women's Basketball Legends will be honored on March 16, the morning of the A-10 women's basketball championship, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Hilary

(Photo from St. Bonaventure sports information.)

 

Canisius-Manhattan Game Wrap

Canisius 64, Manhattan 60

Game Analysis: The Griffs struggled with Manhattan's extended defense in the early going but made 16 of their final 30 field goal attempts, built a 13-point advantage and held on. Give a lot of credit to Jaspers coach Steve Masiello. He's had to retool the offense after losing top scorer George Beamon to a severe ankle sprain four games into the season. Freshman gunner Shane Richards stepped up with 18 points (six treys) and junior guard Michael Alvarado (18 points) challenged the Griffs inside.

Player of the Game: When Isaac Sosa's on, good things come in threes. He went 8 of 13 from the field, including 5 of 10 from behind the arc, in scoring a season-high 25 points (one off his career high). He also had four rebounds, two assists and just one of Canisius's 16 turnovers.

Best Supporting Role: Center Jordan Heath chipped in with nine points, eight boards, two steals and a block and helped loosen up the Manhattan defense in the first half.

Stat Check: Put it's two drought together and Manhattan didn't score a field goal for 18 of the 40 minutes.

Stat Check II: The Jaspers won the battle of the benches, 28-3.

Sighting: Canisius guard Alshwan Hymes was back in uniform after his indefinite suspension but did not play for the fourth straight game.

Deceptive: At 6-foot-5, 185 pounds, Shane Richards looks non-threatening. But the freshman from New York is the reigning MAAC Rookie of the Week and dumped six treys on the Griffs. He was 6 of 9 from beyond the arc.

What It Means: The Griffs are back above .500 in the MAAC (4-3) while Manhattan dropped to 3-4.

In the House: Coach Jim Baron said he feels like a Fuller Brush salesman as he tries to generate attendance. The skeptics aren't giving in easily. There were only 1,370 on hand and student representation was lean.

They Said It

Billy Baron on his father's 400th win: "I feel very, very fortunate to be in this spot, to grow up in a basketball family. It's meant a lot to me. I've understood what it is to work hard from him. I've understood what that work ethic is through my mother. And my brother has paved the way for me and guided me along the way along with my parents. I'm very blessed and I know my brother would say the same."

Jim Baron: "Manhattan's a scrappy team. That's the league we're in. Everybody's very, very scrappy, coming back at you, just like Siena down in Albany playing in front of 5,000 fans."

Manhattan coach Steve Masiello on his players: "There's no quit in them. They fight. They understand that our best days are ahead of us. We're going to return almost 90 percent of this team. Some very good players sitting out. Some very good players coming in. They know that."

Next Up: The Griffs get their rematch with Siena at 2 Saturday afternoon in the KAC. Manhattan heads up the road to Niagara.

-- Bob DiCesare

Siena-Niagara game analysis

Game analysis: Niagara's young talent has found its footing and looks like a legitimate MAAC contender after blowing out Siena, 87-64, on Thursday night at the Gallagher Center.

How Niagara won: The Purple Eagles sizzled from 3-point range while hitting 12 of 24, including 61.5 percent in the first half. They also scored 30 points off 18 Saints turnovers. Four players, led by sophomore Antoine Mason's 23 points, finished in double figures.

Turning Point: Niagara opened a big lead in the second half with a 24-7 run.

Player of the Game: Mason's father, former Knicks forward Anthony Mason, jumped for joy whenever his son made a shot. He jumped quite a bit.

Key stat: Siena is bigger along the frontline, but Niagara claimed the battle on the boards (33-28).

Ejected: Siena's O.D. Anosike was tossed with 7:50 left in the game for arguing with an official and wasn't every forthcoming with information after the game. The ejection probably didn't bother Niagara much considering he was 6 of 11 from the floor with 10 rebounds.

What It Means: The Purple Eagles are off to their best conference start since 1998-99 and are in sole possession of first place at 6-1. Iona, who is 5-1, plays against Fairfield on Friday.

In the House: 1,449

He said it: "Are we ahead of schedule? I don't know what the schedule is. But the team is coming together." - Niagara coach Joe Mihalich.

Up next: The Purple Eagles host Manhattan at 3 p.m. Saturday.

---Rodney McKissic

Bona-Xavier Game Wrap

Xavier 66, St. Bonaventure 64

Game Analysis: The Bonnies might have had this game well in hand had they done a better job on the backboards. The Musketeers torched them for 16 offensive rebounds, which they turned into 16 second-chance points. It was the noticeable difference it what was otherwise an evenly played game.

Player of the Game: Get used to seeing Semaj Christon. The freshman guard leads Xavier in scoring, and he upped his average with Wednesday's 19-point, 10-assist effort than included the winning basket with 5 seconds left. He's pudding smooth.

Bona Player of the Game: The development of Youssou Ndoye continues. The 7-foot sophomore went for a career-high 16 points. When you're scoring 16 against Xavier and 14 against the likes of North Carolina State there's a lot of potential.

What It Means: Bona (7-9, 0-3) has lost six straight for the first time since Mark Schmidt's first year as coach. Xavier (10-6, 3-0) is on a three-game winning streak after losing four in a row for the first time in more than 20 years.

Injured: Xavier was without starting point guard Dee Davis (wrist). Christon made sure they barely missed him.

Stat Check: Xavier turned it over just six times -- half of what it had been averaging in A-10 play.

In the House: There were 3,892 on hand and Buffalo native Don Criqui called the game for the CBS Sports Network.

They Said It:
Schmidt on Charlon Kloof's last-play drive to the basket: "We only needed a two, so he had the ball and he had to make a decision to go all the way to the basket or drive and kick. We got to the basket, they made a good play."

Next Up: Oh no. He comes the dreaded Philadelphia trip. The Bonnies are at Temple Saturday and follow up with Saint Joseph's on Wednesday.

-- 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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