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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.

Ortega, Dixon and Wilson will not return to St. Bonaventure

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

St. Bonaventure's leading scorer will not return for her senior season. Doris Ortega along with guards CeCe Dixon and Tatiana Wilson were dismissed from the Bona women's basketball team.

"Obviously we wish them well," Bona coach Jim Crowley said. "It just didn't work here."

Crowley said all three have been granted their release and play at any school they wish. He also added about the departure, "I wouldn't say it was mutual."

Ortega started 27 games for the Bonnies last year, averaging 12.1 points. Dixon played in 24 games, missing five after being suspended for what was called an "internal team issue." The Bonnies seemed to be fighting through internal issues and chemistry problems at times last season. Combine that with a young team and several injuries and the program that went to the Sweet 16 in 2012 finished up 2013 with a 10-19 overall record and a 3-11 Atlantic 10 mark.

Wilson, who would have been a junior at Bona, averaged 9.1 minutes and saw action in 26 games.

Ortega and Dixon had been key components of the Bonnies run in 2012 as sophomores but seemed to stumble as juniors with the ability to take their game and leadership to the next level.

With their departures, Bona now returns just eight players -- two seniors and six sophomores -- with two freshman on the roster for next season.

Among those returning are seniors Ashly Zahn and Chelsea Bowker, who sat out last year as a medical redshirt with an ankle injury.

Among the sophomores returning are Katie Healy (Lancaster), Nyla Rueter and Emily Michael, all of whom saw significant playing time as freshmen.

Crowley said the team has responded very well to the loss of their teammates.

"From the time it happened, they have focused on moving forward," Crowley said. "We've gotten some great work ethic and leadership from people. They've had a solid spring and summer. We lost talent. Over the last two years we've lost a lot of it, but we have good talent here. We're getting used to each other, to playing together and for each other. Each day we're a day closer."

 

Niagara women lose three players

By Rodney McKissic

The Niagara University women’s basketball team will enter next season minus three major contributors.

Starters Lauren Gatto and Kayla Stroman reserve Shy Britton will not return to the team, Niagara athletic department spokesman Derick Thornton confirmed on Tuesday.

Gatto and Stroman both received their degrees this month while Britton was dismissed from the team for a violation of the school’s student athlete’s code of conduct.

The 6-foot-2 Gatto will be difficult to replace. The Illinois-Chicago transfer led the team in scoring (14.0), rebounding (6.2) and field-goal percentage (49.0 percent). She graduated with a master’s degree in business management and had a year of eligibility remaining.

Stroman, who also earned a business management degree, was a fixture at point guard in her three-plus seasons at Niagara. She started all 31 games as a freshman before her sophomore season was cut short by a knee injury. Stroman, who had one season of eligibility remaining, started the next 63 games of her career, including 31 last season when she averaged 6.6 points and a team-high 4.0 assists.

Britton saw action in 30 games last season and started five while averaging 6.5 points and 3.2 rebounds.  

Canisius lands Stetson transfer

By Rodney McKissic

Canisius gained some much needed help in their backcourt with the addition of former Stetson guard Chris Perez.

The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Perez, who also played one season at Liberty, has already graduated from Stetson and will be eligible to play immediately. He has one season of eligibility remaining.

Perez is expected to fill the void created by the graduation of Isaac Sosa, the Golden Griffins' third-leading scorer behind Billy Baron and Harold Washington at 11.6 points a game.

Canisius not only loses both Sosa and Washington but reserve guards Alshwan Hymes and Reggie Groves, who had one season of eligibility remaining but has graduated and will not return to the team.

Also not returning are a pair of freshmen: Guard Jermaine Johnson, who will transfer to a junior college, and forward Tyrel Edwards who is seeking to attend an NAIA school.

In 31 games including 30 starts, Perez was Stetson's second-leading scorer at 15.1 points. He shot 48.6 percent from the floor overall and 31.1 percent from 3-point range. He also averaged 4.1 rebounds and led the team in steals with 35.

Source: Cline will transfer to Richmond

By Rodney McKissic

The mass exedous from Niagara in the wake of Joe Mihalich's departure continues with freshman T.J. Cline giving a verbal commitment to attend Richmond according to a source.

Cline, the son of Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman, visited Charlotte last week and informed the 49ers staff on Saturday that he would attend Richmond. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Cline was named to the MAAC All-Rookie Team after averaging 7.9 points and 4.6 rebounds in 33 games. He also led the Purple Eagles in 3-point shooting percentage with 33.6 percent.

Cline must sit out the 2013-14 season per NCAA transfer rules, but will have three seasons of eligibility remaining. The news comes just days after Juan'ya Green and Ameen Tanksley joined Mihalich at Hofstra.


The Ins and Outs at Niagara

By BOB DICESARE

Niagara coach Chris Casey has landed his first recruit as he strives to stablize a Niagara basketball program that continues to be hit by defections.

Niagara has signed Karonn Davis,  6-2 combo guard from Friends Central near Philly, but sources say the Purple Eagles are losing senior-to-be Malcolm Lemmons, who has elected to transfer. Lemmons, a reserve guard, joins All-MAAC guard Juan'ya Green and rebounding leader Ameen Tanksley on the transfer wagon that's crowding since coach Joe Mihalich was announced as the new head coach at Hofstra. Sources say Green and Tanksley are preparing to visit Hofstra, which was not forbidden when they were granted their transfers by the Purple Eagles.

Could another defection be forthcoming?

Continue reading "The Ins and Outs at Niagara" »

UB Hoops Adds Third Recruit

By Bob DiCesare

Justin Moss, a 6-foot-7 forward, has signed with UB out of Indian Hills Community College and is expected to step right in and play according to Bulls coach Bobby Hurley.

"Justin is going to be a great addtion to the program," Hurley said in a news release. "I'm confident that he will be an immediate contributor next year."

Continue reading "UB Hoops Adds Third Recruit" »

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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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