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Bonnies look to extend Schmidt's contract

By Rodney McKissic

Now that Mark Schmidt has moved on from Boston College, St. Bonaventure is looking to extend his contract.

Schmidt’s current deal runs through the 2018-19 season and the Bonnies hope to extend the coach another two years, according to a source.

“We are thrilled that Mark has decided to continue as the head coach of our men’s basketball program," St. Bonaventure AD Steve Watson said in a statement released by the school. “He has done a remarkable job of building the program. We hope Mark will be our coach for a long time, and to that end, we have started discussions about an extension of our commitment to him.”

ESPN reported Tuesday morning that Schmidt was no longer an option at Boston College. A source confirmed that Schmidt spoke with former South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler, whose search firm is working on behalf of Boston College. According to the source, Boston College athletics director Brad Bates did not ask St. Bonaventure athletics director Steve Watson permission to speak with Schmidt, a common practice among ADs, although Bates was not obligated to do so.

Fogler spoke directly to Schmidt, who kept Watson apprised of the proceedings, the source said. Neither Schmidt nor Watson were available for comment.

Schmidt has a 106-109 record at St. Bonaventure and in 2012 he led the Bonnies to their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2000. Schmidt played at Boston College from 1981-85.

“It is an honor to be the head coach at St. Bonaventure,” Schmidt said in a statement released by the school. “This is a fantastic University with passionate fans in a community my family and I are proud to call home.”

Report: Schmidt no longer an option at Boston College

By Rodney McKissic

St. Bonaventure coach Mark Schmidt is no longer an option at Boston College, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. Goodman is also reporting that Syracuse University assistant Mike Hopkins is no longer under consideration as well.

Schmidt reportedly interviewed at Boston College last week; nevertheless according to Mark Blaudschun of www.ajerseyguy.com, Schmidt spoke with Eddie Fogler, whose search firm is working on behalf of the school last week. Schmidt played at BC from 1981-85.

Hopkins interviewed on campus on Saturday and on Monday Ohio University coach Jim Christian emerged as a viable candidate which stands to reason because he’s one of Fogler’s clients. Christian’s head coaching stops include Kent State and TCU.  It is unknown if Christian has scheduled an interview.

Schmidt, who was unavailable for comment, recently completed his seventh season at St. Bonaventure where he has a 106-109 record. In 2012, Schmidt led the Bonnies to their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2000.

We weren't lying about Dayton being way more balanced than Syracuse

By Tim Graham

Before tonight's NCAA Tournament game between the Syracuse Orange and Dayton Flyers, we took a look at how differently each team deploys its bench.

Dayton smears minutes throughout its roster. Syracuse's starters hog most of their minutes.

No different for Dayton's 55-53 victory in First Niagara Center.

Eight Flyers played at least 12 minutes, and 11 Flyers got into the game.

Only two Flyers scored in double figures, with forward Dyshawn Pierre topping out at 14 points and guard Jordan Sibert adding 10. No other starter had more than seven points.

Six Orange players accounted for 197 of the 200 possible minutes. The five starters played at least 25 minutes apiece, with guard Tyler Ennis logging all 40 minutes, forward C.J. Fair 39 minutes and forward Rakeem Christmas 37 minutes.

Dayton outworks Syracuse, but Archie Miller knows his team got a tad lucky

By Tim Graham

The Dayton Flyers knew they needed every break they could muster.

The Flyers made the NCAA Tournament as the sixth and final Atlantic 10 team. They're an 11th seed. But there they were, leading the mighty Syracuse Orange early tonight in First Niagara Center.

The Flyers led by seven points 8:23 into the game and had chances to extend their lead, perhaps even dictate if they dared. Then came some turnovers, a couple missed layups, a blocked shot, some fouls, a missed free throw.

Was Dayton flirting with disaster?

With 2:47 left in the first half, that seven-point lead had evaporated. Syracuse had its first lead.

"You're playing against a great team," Dayton coach Archie Miller said. "I mean, you're playing against one of the best teams in the country, and to play them in Buffalo, to expect to push ahead, so to speak, it's not really going through your head.

"Battling every possession defensively, watching our kids compete, giving ourselves a chance to be there, be there, be there. At the end of the game, we wanted to be right where we were, which was we had a chance to win the game."

In one mutually miserable stretch at the end of the first half and the start of the second half, Dayton had made only two of its last 14 shots from the floor, and Syracuse had made one of its last 12, including nine straight misses. Dayton hadn't made consecutive shots the entire game to that point. Syracuse had managed the feat once.

Syracuse kept hanging around, though, and with so many Orange fans in the building, there was a sense its cache might come through at some point. Syracuse took its largest lead with 7:49 to play, when guard Tyler Ennis made a layup to go ahead, 40-37.

Dayton retook the lead 91 seconds later on a pair of free throws and never trailed again, but Syracuse remained within striking distance until Ennis' three-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer.

"If you'd have told me at the end of the game, you'd have a one‑point lead with a minute or whatever, you're taking it," Miller said. "You're just going to take that.

"Fortunately tonight, they didn't hit some shots that they probably normally hit. The defense was great, but you also could play them 10 times, and I don't think that some of those shots would be missed.

"So a little bit of luck is on your head. And you need that, I think, obviously, in this tournament. You've got to be fortunate."

Dayton 55, Syracuse 53: How the game was won

By Tim Graham

How Dayton won: With both teams struggling to make shots, Syracuse was doomed by an inability to convert anything but layups, putbacks and short jumpers. Syracuse missed all 10 three-pointers it attempted. Dayton, meanwhile, made seven three-pointers and held a 35-31 edge in rebounds.

Turning point: Dayton led by one point with 14 seconds to play, when guard Jordan Sibert stepped out of bounds while being pressured by two Syracuse defenders. Syracuse had a chance to take its first lead in over six minutes, but Tyler Ennis pulled up for a short jumper against his coach's wishes -- Jim Boeheim later said he ordered a drive to the basket -- and Syracuse's best opportunity to win evaporated.

Player of the game: Dayton forward Devin Oliver scored only seven points, but he recorded team-highs with 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals without committing a turnover.

Stat of the game: Syracuse failed to make a three-pointer for the first time since March 1995 against Providence.

He said it: "It was definitely going in tonight. It was online, and he was going for the win. ... Lo and behold, he misses. I thought he was going to the basket, but I saw him raise up. I didn't feel good about it. But Buffalo has been good to us these last couple days." -- Dayton coach Archie Miller on watching Ennis miss a three-pointer as time expired. Dayton also survived a failed buzzer-beater Thursday to beat Ohio State.

Up next: Dayton is moving on to Memphis for the Sweet 16 and will play the winner of Sunday's game between second-seeded Kansas and 10th-seeded Stanford.

At the buzzer: Dayton stymies Syracuse, advances to Sweet 16

By Tim Graham

For the longest time, neither team could make a basket.

Then the shots started to fall, yet pulling away was impossible.

Whether missing layups, lofting air balls or finally knocking down shots, the difference between Dayton and Syracuse remained razor thin.

At the buzzer, Dayton had done enough for a rollicking 55-53 NCAA Tournament victory Saturday night in First Niagara Center.

Dayton, an 11th seed, is headed to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1984. Syracuse, a third seed that was ranked No. 1 in the country last month, is done.

Dayton guard Jordan Sibert converted a long three-pointer with 49 seconds to go to give his team a 52-47 lead and force Syracuse to foul out of desperation.

Sibert opened the door for Syracuse by stepping out of bounds with 16 seconds to play and Syracuse down by a point, but Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis missed a short jumper.

Dayton's Dyshawn Pierre rebounded and was fouled with seven seconds on the clock. He missed the second free throw, giving Syracuse one more chance.

Ennis' three-pointer rimmed out as time expired.

No player had more than six points in the first half. Dayton shot 35 percent from the floor, while Syracuse shot 30 percent.

Syracuse missed nine straight shots at the end of the first half and the start of the second half.

Syracuse ended the drought by making two straight shots about three minutes into the second half, only the second time it had accomplished the meager feat and its first successful back-to-back attempts since the game was under 10 minutes old.

Then the Orange made three in a row for the first time. But Dayton also heated up, hitting five out of eight shots, including three three-pointers to take a 35-30 lead with about 11:20 to play.

Syracuse went on a 6-0 run to go ahead -- only its second lead of the game -- with 9:24 remaining on a Michael Gbinije layup. The Orange had made five straight shots and nine of 12 since they missed nine in a row.

The game remained a slugfest from there. They traded misses and makes seemingly on every possession.

Dayton vs. Syracuse: First-half analysis

By Tim Graham

In the 1980s, the Chicago White Sox's slogan was "Winning Ugly."

The Dayton Flyers seem to like that style, too.

For the second time in three days, the pesky, 11th-seeded Flyers are giving a pedigreed opponent problems. They lead the Syracuse Orange, 20-18, at halftime of their NCAA Tournament game in First Niagara Center.

No player has more than six points. Dayton is shooting 35 percent from the floor, while Syracuse is at 30 percent. Dayton has committed seven turnovers to Syracuse's six.

And Dayton led almost the entire half.

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was steaming when screamed for a timeout 8:28 into the game. Dayton was up, 11-4, after Vee Sanford made a jump shot in transition.

Syracuse didn't let the game get out of hand, thanks in part to some point-blank misses and careless turnovers from Dayton. Syracuse had multiple chances to take its first lead and finally did on a pair of Fair free throws with 2:48 left.

Streaky Syracuse guard Trevor Cooney, one of the stars from Thursday's victory over Western Michigan, has been cold tonight. Two of this three-point attempts weren't in the same zip code. Cooney has two points.

Dayton has demonstrated its depth already, using 11 players in the first half. Syracuse has used seven, with its five starters playing at least 16 minutes apiece.

Matchup features Dayton's balance versus Syracuse's choice nucleus

By Tim Graham

Few college basketball teams are more balanced than the Dayton Flyers.

The Flyers are 23-3 when three or more players score in double figures, just 1-7 when they don't. But their leading scorer, Jordan Sibert, averages only 12.4 points a game.

Their next NCAA Tournament opponent, the Syracuse Orange, have three players who average at least as many points as Sibert does. A fourth Orange player is one-tenth of a point behind.

"They have their style. We have our style," said Syracuse forward C.J. Fair, who averages a team-high 16.6 points. "They rotate a lot of guys in and out frequently.

"For us, we play our starters the majority of the game. But it's been effective that way.  So I don't see no problem with it."

Thursday at First Niagara Center, the Flyers played the Ohio State Buckeyes to the final buzzer and had nine players with at least 13 minutes. Only two other Flyers got into the game.

"Our depth has been basically a quest to keep our team together," Dayton coach Archie Miller said. "The camaraderie we have is a big deal. Why we've gotten to this point is because our guys like one another. They're together. They're tough."

Orange coach Jim Boeheim cleared his bench in a blowout victory over the Western Michigan Broncos. Thirteen players got into the game. Even so, nine Orange players went at least 13 minutes.

"I think that doesn't make a difference because we're just going to go ahead and play our game," Syracuse center Baye Moussa Keita said. "It doesn't matter if they play nine, 10, guys and we play seven or six. I think everyone is going to play their game, play the hardest we can."

Dayton and Syracuse got a sneak peek of each other in Hawaii

By Tim Graham

The Dayton Flyers came one putback away from playing the Syracuse Orange already this season.

Both participated in the Maui Invitational, the annual November mini-tournament. Dayton would've advanced to the title game with a victory over Baylor.

Dayton hadn't trailed since it was down 1-0 and led by 10 in the second half. But Baylor followed its own miss and scored with 16 seconds left to win, 67-66. Syracuse beat Baylor, 74-67, in the final.

What did Dayton glean from Syracuse to help them scout for tonight's NCAA Tournament game in First Niagara Center?

"We didn't spend a ton of time watching them, just the eye test because the Maui games are back-to-back," Dayton coach Archie Miller said. "Saw them really one time because we played Cal and they did, as well.

"Obviously, the size and the length and the zone can consume you if you let it. I think offensively they have a lot of guys individually they can isolate on you, really talented. But it's a typical Syracuse team. They're very good, and they're very big. You're going to have to be organized. They thrive on the steals. They thrive on the defense creating offense.

"Down the other end, they really have some game changers in terms of [Trevor] Cooney and [C.J.] Fair, and they're really good off the glass at times as well with [Jerami] Grant. We have our work cut out for us."

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim was impressed by watching Miller coach in Maui.

"You can't scout people anymore, but we watched him over there because of the tournament," Boeheim said. "I'm just impressed with how hard his team plays, how they play together. Just a really, really well‑coached team. He's done a tremendous job coaching that team."

Ennis reunites with CIA Bounce alum Pierre

By Rodney McKissic

It will be a reunion of sorts for Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis and Dayton sophomore forward Dyshawn Pierre, who were teammates with the Canadian-based AAU program CIA Bounce.

Both are coming off strong performances in their second round matchups on Thursday. In his first NCAA Tournament game, Ennis helped the Orange easily dispatch Western Michigan, 77-53, with 16 points and six assists.

In the Flyers 60-59 upset over Ohio State, Dayton trailed 57-55 when Pierre was fouled on a three-point attempt with 26 seconds left and calmly canned all three free throws. That proved to be the difference after each team exchanged baskets, including Vee Stanford’s winner.

“Dyshawn is one of those players where you have to watch him a couple of games to really appreciate how good he is,” Ennis said. “I’ve watched him go up against nearly everybody in that class and really go at them. He’s really an underrated player and one of their keys.”

Ennis played one summer with Pierre on Bounce, the program run by Tony McIntyre, Ennis’ father. He starred at Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute in Whitby, Ont., where he registered over 3,500 points and nearly 1,800 rebounds.

“At first you look at him and his game is a little awkward but as you keep watching him you can see his mid-range game and finishing around the basket,” Ennis said. “Offensively, he has the full package but he does a great job.”

Ennis spoke with Pierre briefly today about Bounce alums still the NCAAs and making noise throughout college basketball. That includes Ennis’ brother, Dylan, from Villanova, Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins and Iowa State’s and Melvin Ejim and Naz Long.

“It will be a great day for Canada basketball to have two players on this level contributing and going at each other,” Ennis said. “It’s a big step for us to have this many players and having so many contributors not only playing on these teams but contributing throughout the country.”

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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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