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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

 

 

 

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

Atlantic Hockey road tilts for Canisius, Niagara this weekend

by Amy Moritz

It's a big conference weekend for Niagara and Canisius with both teams on the road for Atlantic Hockey matchups.

The Golden Griffins, coming off a three-point weekend against UConn, are in West Point to face Army for two games (7 p.m. tonight and Saturday).

Images
Tony Capobianco (gogriffs.com)

Senior goaltender Tony Capobianco has regained his form from last year after a slow start. In his last four games, he has a 1.72 goals against average and a .945 save percentage. In his first four games, he had a 4.79 goals against average and a .879 save percentage.

The rest of the senior class is stepping up as well. Kyle Gibbons is now two goals shy of 50 for his career while Ben Danford has a team-best eight assists.

"We have a veteran team so it's not as much about Xs and Os as it is about role acceptance and putting team first," Canisius coach Dave Smith said. "Everyone wants success and those things seem to be coming together nicely. We'll have a challenge in West Point. We know what Army is capable of physically and we've got to be on the top of our game."

The Black Knights are 2-7-0 in Atlantic Hockey with its last game a 4-3 overtime win over American International.

Niagara meanwhile travels to Connecticut for games with the Huskies tonight (7 p.m.) and Saturday (4 p.m.).

The Purple Eagles are still looking for their first road win of the season. They're coming off a 4-2 loss at No. 15 Cornell, where coach Dave Burkholder felt his team played its best game of the season.

AR-131009337
Jackson Teichroeb (buffalonews.com)

Freshmen goaltenders Jackson Teichroeb and Adrian Ignagni  have been battling for the No. 1 spot. (For the record, Burkholder said neither one has emerged yet as the top goalie.) And the Purps biggest weakness has been its defense.

"We’ve been working and we’ve gotten a lot better with our D-zone coverage, but it’s actually been our backchecking that's the problem," Burkholder said. "We’ll have freeze frames on video where we have five Niagara players in the picture and the other team is still making plays through our five guys. So we’re back, which is great. It shows a strong work ethic, but we’re not playing smart. That's been an issue with us and we think we’ve gotten a lot better."

UConn, in its last season with Atlantic Hockey before moving to Hockey East, is tied with Niagara and Canisius for fourth place in the conference standings. All three teams have seven points.

Gritty work pays off for Rigney

by Amy Moritz

It's easy to pick out the usual suspects of offensive performance. But what helps a team win is when they get scoring from the unusual sources.

Enter junior forward Braeden Rigney for the Canisius hockey team.

Last season, he had five points (one goal, four assists) in 24 games for the Golden Griffins.

This season he already has five points, in his last five games, including the game-winning goal Friday night in the Ice Griffs 3-1 win over Connecticut.

What's been the difference in his offense this year?

"More just focusing on trying to do something down in their end rather than just getting off the ice," Rigney said. "Moving my feet and my linemates obviously make it a hell of lot easier."

Rigney played on the left wing with Matthew Grazen and Patrick Sullivan, assisting on the first goal of the game recorded by Sullivan just 122 seconds into the game.

“It’s fun when guys like Rigney and Sullivan score,” head coach Dave Smith said. “Those are blood and guts guys. Those are grunt guys who really bring the physical and mental effort.”

Check out the video highlights of the game including the goals by Rigney and Sullivan, some of the prettier goals we've seen this year.

The teams meet again at 4 p.m. today at Buffalo State Ice Arena.

 

Capobianco headed to Wild Development Camp

by Amy Moritz
@amymoritz

When he begins his senior year at Canisius, Tony Capobianco will have a great answer to the question, "What did you do on your summer vacation?"

The goaltender was invited to participate in the Minnesota Wild Development camp this week.

Capobianco was named the most valuable player for the Golden Griffins after leading the team to the Atlantic Hockey Tournament Championship and the program's first ever NCAA tournament bid. He set four school records during the season -- saves (1,256), save percentage (.929), wins (18) and shutouts (four).

Capobianco is one of seven collegiate players invited to the Wild's development camp at the Xcel Energy Center. The camp, which includes 36 players, focuses on developing the organization's top prospect.

Back in 2008, Canisius forward Vincent Scarsella participated in development camp with the Buffalo Sabres.

 

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.

Live chat at 3 p.m.: Canisius, NU skate into NCAA Tournament, with Amy Moritz

Canisius-Evansville Game Wrap

CIT Quarterfinal
Evansville 84, Canisius 83

How Evansville Won: The Purple Aces were in trouble down nine at intermission but opened the second half with a run and then rode the exploits of a finalist for mid-major player of the year. Porous defense tormented the Griffs in the MAAC semifinals and it was the same here. Evansville shot 60 percent in the second half.

Player of the Game: The best Canisius season in more than a decade has come to a close. But there are worse things than saying you were done in by Colt Ryan. The 6-5 senior guard was unstoppable, scoring 39 points on 11 of 22 from the field (5 of 9 on 3s) and 12 of 15 from the line. He also had a team-high six boards. And played 38 minutes. And never looked the worse for wear. Even the most ardent Griffs fan would have to admit he was a treat to watch.

Best Player (Losing Effort): Billy Baron struck for 21 points to finish the season with 584. That's the highest total for a Griff since Ray Hall in 1984-85 and the most points by a Canisius junior since Hall the previous season.

Another Go?: Reggie Groves was honored on Senior Night a couple weeks back but he still has a year of eligibility remaining. Hard to imagine he wouldn't come in handy next year, especially with the graduation losses the Griffs will sustain in the backcourt. Groves had seven points and six assists against two turnovers in 26 minutes. Harold Washington's foul trouble forced him into extended action.

Stat Check: This was the seventh time the Griffs scored at least 74 points and lost.

Stat Check II: Evansville scored 23 points off 16 Canisius turnovers. All nine Griffs who played committed at least one.

Seasonal: Chris Manhertz had six boards, pushing his season total to 297, seventh on the school single-season list . . . Isaac Sosa two treys pushed his school season-season record to 95 . . . With three blocks Jordan Heath went to 53, sixth most in a season.

In the House: 1,403 were on hand but it seemed like more. And the crowd was into it. Yup. After that looooong dry spell the Griffs matter again.

Canisius coach Jim Baron: "Down the stretch here (we were) playing against all good teams. This team beat Wichita State and you see them in the Sweet Sixteen right now. You can see why they beat Wichita State. You got to give them credit. They made their shots they made their plays they made their free throws and we have to play a flawless game to beat them."

Evansville coach Marty Simmons and if he's seen Ryan take over a game in that fashion: "I have. I mean I have. . . . I knowwe played Bradley last year at home and Creighton last year at Creighton he got on a roll like that. But he's been pretty consistent really for four years."

Simmons on Billy Baron: "He's a great player in transition. He really knows how to push it. He's really good off ball screens. . . . He's got great hesitation. He's got a quick first step. His knowledge of the game is tremendous."

Recapping: Canisius finished 20-14, a 15-win improvement over last season.

-- Bob DiCesare

Big 4 players honored by NABC

Niagara's Juan'ya Green and Antoine Mason, Canisius' Billy Barron and UB's Javon McCrea were all named to the NABC Division I All-District teams which were announced today.

Green and Baron were named to the District 1 first team with Iona's Lamont Jones, Siena's O.D. Anosike and Stony Brook's Tommy Brenton. Mason was on the second team with Loyola's Erik Etherly, Boston University's D.J. Irving, Fairfield's Derek Needham and Stony Brook's Jameel Warney.

McCrea was on the District 14 first team along with Ohio's D.J. Cooper, Akron's Zeke Marshall, Toledo's Rian Pearson and Kent State's Chris Evans.

---Rodney McKissic

Canisius-Elon Game Wrap

CIT
First Round
Canisius 69, Elon 53

How Canisius Won: The Griffs are the more seasoned team and it played out that way. The Griffs forced 19 turnovers and came up with 11 steals and more than doubled the Phoenix in points scored off turnovers, 20-8. Elon placed third in the SoCon, the 27th-ranked conference in the country. They can be dangerous if they're hitting from three. But they weren't.

Player of the Game: Senior guard Harold Washington had that gleam in his eye from the opening tip. He went for 19 points, hitting 7 of 10 from the field.

Best Supporting Role: The Phoenix have some versatile big men but 6-10 Jordan Heath put them in their place. He scored 13 points, stepped outside for a pair of threes and swatted away five shots.

Best Player (Losing Effort): Elon has a nice player in 6-7 junior Ryley Beaumont, one of those versatile bigs. He had a 20 points and 12 boards -- both game highs. He also commited a game-high six turnovers, a reflection of how much he handles the ball.

What It Means: A postseason win for Canisius, its first since 1995. Elon finished 21-12.

Stat Check: Canisius was outrebounded 48-37 but it wasn't to fret about. When the opponent goes 9 of 34 from behind the arc there's going to be long rebounds difficult to chase down.

Stat Check II: Elon's 29.4 shooting percentage was the worst of the season by a Canisius opponent.

They Said It

Canisius coach Jim Baron on the effectiveness of the Griffs press: "We wanted to make them turn it over and I thought we did a great job forcing 19 turnovers. Again, I've always been a big believer of up-tempo, and we really stepped it up and I think it really got us going."

Baron on Washington: "It's amazing when you continue to play, guys that love to play the game, it doesn't matter, you know what I mean? You're still playing. You're career's still going. I told them, this is what, the first time in 18 years. You're part of Canisius history."

Washington on the press: "Just switching it up defensively threw them off guard. I think that's something we should do a lot more of, just throwing different things at teams, make them change up their strategy."

Jordan Heath on Baron's birthday: "We sang to him in the locker room."

Washington: "Where was I?"

-- 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


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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