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Hart hits game-winner for Hamilton

by Jerry Sullivan

Matt Hart, a sophomore guard from Canisius High, grabbed an offensive rebound and nailed a shot from the baseline at the overtime buzzer Tuesday night to give Hamilton an 85-83 victory over Elmira College. Hart, who is 6-2, scored a season-high 30 points in the non-league game.

Hart was 11 of 15 from the floor  and 4-for-5 from three-point range. He is now averaging 20.8 points  a game, second in the NESCAC and 40th in the nation in Division III.

Last year, Hart was among the top 10 freshman players in the country in Division III scoring.

 

 

 

 

VIDEO: Monmouth stuns Canisius men at the buzzer, 83-82

By Keith McShea

After notching a great win Friday night, the Canisius men's basketball team was stunned in an 83-82 loss at Monmouth Sunday afternoon. 

Monmouth's Andrew Nicholas hit two three-pointers in the final 8.1 seconds to beat the Golden Griffins (who beat Monmouth by 20 at home last week). 

Here they are:

Postgame reaction from Nicholas and Monmouth coach King Rice: 

Longer video of highlights from the game (but poorly edited ones -- this doesn't include the penultimate three-pointer): 

Canisius-Rider Game Wrap

Canisius 94, Rider 91 2OT

How Canisius Won: By finding an incredible offensive chemistry and making threes at a rate that matched the competition. The Griffs shot 54.7 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc against a Rider team that's eighth nationally in three-point shooting percentage and cashed of 10 of 24 (41.7 percent) from afar. And it helped that Billy Baron forced the second OT with a conventional three-point play with 10.6 seconds left and nailed the decisive three just before the buzzer.

Player of the Game: At least for now Baron's 50th game as a Griff stands as his signature performance and the most compelling reason why he'll gain induction to the Canisius Hall of Fame with just two seasons of work. It wasn't just that he scored a career-high 38 points with 32 coming after halftime and 11 coming in the second overtime. He wasn't just that he tied the game at the end of the first OT with one of his trademark drives good for a three-point play. It wasn't just that he either scored or assisted on 23 of the final 25 Griff points in regulation. It was all those things and the fact he was 11 of 19 from the field, 12 of 13 from the line, and went for seven rebounds and seven assists. Might as well also mention he played 48 of the 50 minutes. 

Best Supporting Role: Someone tweeted that Jordan Heath's playing like UB's Mitchell Watt did late in his senior season. I can see it. The Griffs center has added a nastiness to his inside game. The 17 points were big. The school-record nine blocks were out of this world.

Best Player Losing Effort: In most any game in the MAAC Anthony Myles would have been the best player on the floor. He had a career-high 30 points and hit the corner three that appeared destined to force a third OT before Baron struck. And he works both ends. Really nice player.

And They're Just Rookies: Freshman Zach Lewis made his first career start and scored 12 points while playing 46 minutes. His two threes were integral to the comeback after Canisius fell behind nine with 10:20 remaining. Meanwhile, freshman Phil Valenti came off the bench for a foul-plagued Chris Manhertz and went for 12 points and a game-high nine points in 34 minutes. They were huge contributors.

The Last Time: Canisius last played a double overtime game on Dec. 16, 2009 at Duquesne.

Stat Check:Rider shot 60 percent from the floor in the OTs -- and lost. Because Canisius shot 72.7 percent.

Just Wondering: If this is the lowest combined rebounding total for a double OT game in the shot clock era. There were just 57, 31 of them by Canisius.

Moving On Up: This was career win No. 419 for Canisius coach Jim Baron, tying him with former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps on the all-time list. Baron was an assistant under Phelps.

What It Means: The Griffs improved to 10-5 overall and retained a share of the conference lead at 4-1. Rider slipped to 7-7, 3-2.

In the House: The question is, How many will say they were there the night Baron poured in 38? Only 1,226 can be believed.

Next Up: The Griffs host Monmouth at 2 Sunday afternoon while Rider heads over the bridge to Niagara for a 2 o'clock start at Taps.

-- Bob DiCesare

 

 

 

UB-NIU Game Wrap

UB 67, Northern Illinois 46

How UB Won: By recruiting better players. This shouldn't have been much of a game and it wasn't. But the Huskies are tougher at home and the Bulls pay DeKalb a visit on Jan. 25.

Turning Point: No one figured a secondary turning point would be forthcoming once UB jumped out to a 16-0 lead through six minutes. But who would have figured that Northern Illinois, a team that's won all of 16 games since the beginning of the 2011-12 season, would draw within four by halftime? When the Huskies did just that the onus was on UB to reestablish command. The Bulls answered with a 16-7 burst to start the second half. Josh Freelove and Javon McCrea keyed it.

Player of the Game: Consider it a positive for the Bulls that there are too many to chose from. Will Regan scored the night's first six points and finished with a game-high 15. Freelove made two big threes early in the second half to settle down the offense. McCrea attempted just five field goals but scored 14 points and set a career high with eight blocks. They all played integral roles.

What It Means: Mark Bobby Hurley down as a winner in his first conference game as a head coach. The Bulls are in a four-way tie for first in the East, improved to 7-4 overall and have won three straight.

Stat Check: Shannon Evans went on a tear during the game-opening run and totaled 11 points. He also had seven of UB's 16 turnovers in 23 minutes. The freshman will come to appreciate that it's not a negative  reflection on his ability to make the simple play. And that there's much better guard play in the MAC than what NIU brings to the floor.

Stat Check II: NIU hammered UB for 17 offensive rebounds and managed 14 more field goal attempts. UB has to clean that up. Like by Saturday.

Tech-nicalities: McCrea and Hurley both were hit with T's late in the first half. McCrea was booked for a dead-ball push. It was legit. Officials are cracking down on that kind of gamesmanship, subtle as it was.  Hurley was nailed for vehement argument after both coaches were previously warned to zip it. Yes, Hurley had a real beef or two. Evans it appeared was fouled launching a three but instead shot one-and-one because the foul was curiously deemed after the play. But Hurley will catch on that, for a MAC game, the crew did a pretty solid job. 

In the House: With students on break and tipoff pushed back to 9 p.m., a crowd of 1,520 on a Wednesday night isn't all that bad, relatively speaking. NIU left home Tuesday, over-nighted in Cleveland and then came into Buffalo. They asked to have the game moved to Thursday. UB resisted. So the game was moved to 9 p.m. for the Huskies even though they had a 6:45 a.m. flight home.

Next Up: Eastern Michigan (9-5) took its trademark zone to Bowling Green Wednesday night and knocked off the Falcons, 56-51. BG shot just 30 percent from the field and 18 percent from three. The Eagles visit Alumni at 2 Saturday and they're anything but an easy out. Four of their five losses are to ranked teams. The other was to Purdue. And EMU has size.

-- Bob DiCesare

UB-NIU Hoops Moved to 9 p.m.

By Bob DiCesare

Tonight's Mid-American Conference opener between UB and Northern Illinois at Alumni Arena has been moved back two hours to 9 p.m. The change was made by the conference in part as a concession to the Huskies, who left via bus yesterday from their campus west of Chicago, spent Tuesday night in the Cleveland area and were to arrive here today.

 

Canisius-UB Game Wrap

Canisius 69, UB 55

How Canisius Won: UB captured the first 28 minutes, 49-40. Canisius captured the last 12, 29-6, by pulverizing the Bulls in every facet of the game. UB made 3 of its last 17 shots trying to attack the Griffs zone from the perimeter. At the other end, Canisius went to the basket with a vengeance and made 55.6 percent of its second-half field goals. It was like watching Popeye after he downs his spinach.

Player of the Game: Billy Baron was his usual self, scoring a game-high 23 points. And because that's so typical of Baron the honor is free to go elsewhere, in this case to co-players of the game guard Chris Perez and forward Phil Valenti. It wasn't just that the two combined for 27 points and nine boards. It's that no one on UB could match their energy level. They were all over the court.

Leap Backward: UB has lost to both Canisius and Niagara in the same season for the first since since 2000-01. That was Reggie Witherspoon's first full year as coach and the program was in its MAC infancy.

Live By It, Die By It: UB pulled out Saturday's game against St. Bonaventure by nailing four straight threes late. This time they went just 2 of 16 from downtown in the second half while trying to solve the Canisius zone. UB is now shooting less than 30 percent from beyond the arc this season. And a long season it will be if that doesn't change because . . .

What Ever Happened To: Javon McCrea. One of the best players ever to wear a UB uniform has totaled three second-half field goal attempts over the last two games. Three. UB had better find ways to utilize him away from the basket or free up passing lanes underneath before his senior year goes to waste.

Noteworthy: Chris Manhertz's game-high nine rebounds were a season high. Four of them were on the offensive glass.

Convincingly: The Griffs have spanked opponents by 14 points or more during their three-game winning streak.

Stat Check: Canisius outscored UB 32-24 in the paint andattempted 25 free throws compared to just eight for UB. How times have changed.

What It Means:Canisius improved to 6-3 while UB fell to 4-3.

In the House: The paid attendance at First Niagara was 4,703. Or about what they'd get for a Little Three jv game back in the old days.

What's Next: Canisius heads to the big city Saturday to face St. Francis Brooklyn. UB is off until it hits the Barclays Center on Dec. 21 for a meeting with Manhattan, the preseason favorite in the MAAC.

-- Bob DiCesare

UB-Bona Game Wrap

UB 78, St. Bonaventure 73

How UB Won: The Bulls came upon the key to Bona's defensive vault down the stretch. Threes by Josh Freelove, Will Regan, Shannon Evans and Jarryn Skeete turned a 66-60 deficit into a 72-69 lead that held. The Bulls went 6 of 11 from behind the arc in the second half while Bona was 1 of 10 for the game.

Turning Point: Beside the barrage of threes? Bona led by two when senior 2 guard Matthew Wright suffered a leg injury with 14:50 left. He did not return. The Bonnies could have used him in a big way.

UB Player of the Game: Freshman guard Shannon Evans has made huge strides since his college debut about a month ago. He went for a career-high 17 points, came up with two of UB's five steals and turned it over just twice in 24 minutes.

Bona Player of the Game: Point guard Charlon Kloof is a warrior. He led the Bonnies in points (17), assists (five) and played a game-high 37 minutes. Kloof had a lot on his shoulders with Wright and Jordan Gathers out of the lineup.

Stat Check: Bona went just 24 of 38 from the foul line. As coach Mark Schmidt noted, that doesn't cut it, especially on the road. UB was 28 of 32.

Eye Opener: UB's Javon McCrea had just three field goals but his soaring left-handed jam off an Evans miss was flat-out scary.

Rarity: This was UB's second win in the eight meetings between the teams and its first at Alumni Arena. The Bulls hadn't beaten the Bonnies since 1996.

Sreaking: That's four straight wins for UB.

Records: UB improved to 4-2. Bona slipped to 6-3.

In the House: Nice crowd of 4,652. Be interesting to see how all these Saturday afternoon games work out as the season progresses.

Next Up: UB plays Canisius at 8 p.m. (ish) Wednesday in the First Niagara Center in the nightcap of a doubleheader that begins with Niagara-Davidson at 6. The Bonnies open a three-game road swing Saturday at Iona.

-- Bob DiCesare

Niagara-Siena Game Wrap

Siena 84, Niagara 71

How Siena Won: In the words of Saints coach Jimmy Patsos, the Saints made it a priority to "engage" Antoine Mason whenever the nation's leading scorer touched the ball. The in-your-face approach limited Mason's dribble-penetration and made Niagara look elsewhere for points. Rayvon Harris stepped up but Purple Eagles needed more.

Turning Point: The game was tied at 26 after a Niagara rally but the Saints went on a 21-9 run to end the half, opening a 12-point lead that was never seriously threatened.

Player of the Game: I've always like Rob Poole's game and the Siena junior guard could be in for a big season given the Saints' size and physicality up front. He struck for 21 points, going 4 of 6 from three.

Stat Check: The final stats say Niagara outscored Siena 46-38 in the paint. How so? Niagara was down 26-18 in the paint at halftime. They scored 36 second-half points. Eight of those came at the free throw line.

Stat Check II: Niagara went 0 for 13 from three. Momma said there'd be nights like that.

Minutes Made: Joe Thomas barely saw the floor in the first half but had four points, four blocks and six boards in the second half. Niagara could have used him when Siena was having its way underneath early.

What It Means: Niagara's losing streak hit seven with a loss in the MAAC opener. Its only victory this season? UB.

In the House: They're taking a wait-and-see approach to Chris Casey's tenure on The Ridge. There were 1,442 on hand, about 1,000 under capacity.

What's Next: Niagara entertains Saint Peter's Sunday afternoon while Siena motors down the road to Canisius.

-- Bob DiCesare

UB-Texas A&M Game Wrap

Texas A&M 82, UB 58

How UB Lost: The Bulls took a step up in class and hung tough for 27 minutes but couldn't overcome the foul predicaments that limited the playing time of Jarod Oldham and Javon McCrea. The score suggests they were outclassed but they weren't.

Turning Point: UB trailed 51-49 when McCrea was hit with his fourth foul with about 12 minutes left. The offense struggled in his absence and soon the snowball started rolling.

Stat Check: UB was outscored 48-26 in the paint and 20-8 off turnovers.

Tough Start: Foul trouble pushed true freshman guard Shannon Evans into 22 minutes of action in his college debut. Against an SEC team. On the road. It wasn't his night. He went 0 for 5 from the field and turned it over a game-high five times. He'll shake it off.

Out of Whack: Will Regan never got it going on the offensive end and became a defensive liability when the Aggies went small and quick. He had one trey and five rebounds in 18 minutes and just never got into the flow.

Impressive: Forwards Justin Moss and Xavier Ford combined for 13 points and nine boards off the bench. The X-Man, a junior, played with a newfound enthusiasm and confidence (and sometimes too much of both) but it looks like this offensive style is to his liking. Moss, a beast, should be a big asset in MAC play.

In the House: All of 4,969 came out to see the first hoops game of the season. That's about one-third of the number camping out in the parking lots awaiting Saturday's football game.

You Know It's a Football School When: The final stat sheet shows six players logging over 40 minutes.

What It Means: That the Bulls aren't going unbeaten in Bobby Hurley's first year as coach. Twenty-seven regular-season games to go.

Next Up: UB's at Niagara Wednesday night. It'll be louder at Taps than it was at Reed Arena (a very nice facility, by the way).

-- Bob DiCesare

UB Hoops Adds Transfer

By Bob DiCesare

Josh Freelove, a shooting guard who led Alabama State in scoring last year, has transferred to UB and will be immediately available to use his final season of eligibility, UB announced today.

The 6-foot-2 Freelove averaged 13.3 points for the Hornets, good for 10th place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. This is Freelove's fourth school. He's also played at Toledo and Lewis and Clark Community College. He hails from Fort Lauderdale.

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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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