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Ennis brothers' parents enjoy a double feature

589675 NCAA fans Cantillo#8Tony McIntyre and Suzette Ennis, the parents of Syracuse's Tyler Ennis and Villanova's Dylan Ennis, take in Thursday afternoon's victory by the Orange at First Niagara Center.

By Aaron Besecker

Having a son playing for a team in the NCAA Tournament is enough to make any parents proud.

But having two sons playing for teams in the tournament, and then to have them both playing in the same city to start – that’s a little more special.

Just ask the parents of Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis and Villanova’s Dylan Ennis.

For Tony McIntyre and Suzette Ennis of Brampton, Ont., they were experiencing that situation on Thursday in First Niagara Center.

“Everything’s good so far,” McIntyre said at halftime of Syracuse’s game against Western Michigan, which the Orange eventually won easily, 77-53. “Guys just look like they have a whole different ... a lot more energy than they’ve had in the past,” he said.

The family, which has four other children, came to Buffalo with a contingent of about 50 or 60 people, including some from the basketball program McIntyre runs back home.

With dad clad in a gray Syracuse hoodie and a mom in a Syracuse T-shirt, the proud parents have had “quite a few” interview requests since the tournament began, McIntyre said.

How does the family handle the necessary wardrobe change between their sons’ games, switching from the orange of Syracuse to the white and blue of the Villanova Wildcats?

That’s part of what McIntyre and Ennis were talking about in their seats at halftime.

“Probably just head back to the hotel, change into Villanova stuff and then probably get a bite to eat and come back,” McIntyre said.

Having both sons play in the same city certainly makes travel easier for the family, but they would have been able to manage if things turned out differently.

In fact, they did it last weekend when Villanova was playing in the Big East Tournament championship game at Madison Square Garden in New York, which is where mom, Suzette, went. McIntyre went to see Tyler play in the ACC Tournament in North Carolina.

The parents want to make sure their sons “have all the support they need.”

If they couldn’t be together in Buffalo, “we would have probably done the exact same thing” as last weekend, “and probably still have to hopefully, if all goes well.”

As expected, Syracuse and Ennis feel at home in Buffalo

By John Vogl

Syracuse and the University at Buffalo can debate who is really New York's college team, but there was no doubt who owned downtown Thursday.

First Niagara Center was a sea of orange as the sellout crowd of 19,260 enthusiastically backed Syracuse in its 77-53 victory over Western Michigan.

"We're only two hours away from Syracuse," Orange guard Trevor Cooney said. "We have a lot of great fans, and they travel well. To be so close to home was definitely good for us.

"We expected to see a lot of orange out there, but when you get going and you get some stops and you score and you get the crowd behind you, it definitely adds to it."

Tyler Ennis, from Brampton, Ont., had his own cheering section, as will brother Dylan, who plays for Villanova.

"All I know is my immediate family – my brothers, sisters, my parents – but I think it was probably a lot more close family and friends out there as well," Ennis said. "It was great. It’s always great playing in front of my family. All of them came down to see my and my brother since we’re playing in the same place.

"Playing in front of my family, nothing’s like it."


WMU's Brown Battles Injury

By Bob DiCesare

Western Michigan guard David Brown, a first-team all-MAC selection, played the second half of a 77-53 loss to Syracuse with a pronounced limp after banging knees late in the first half.

Brown went just 2 of 12 from the field in the game, including 2 of 10 from behind the arc. Without his long-range shooting WMU had no antidote for Syracuse's 2-3 zone.

Brown said he was told "it was terrible where the place I got hit at because that's where all the impact is from you jumping and cutting. Where I got hit at is right where, everything I wanted to do, I couldn't barely do."

Although listed as a senior, Brown could petition the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility because he underwent two major knee surgeries in his career.

"We feel like both of his redshirt years were due to injury and he was under the number of games that you can be under," said coach Steve Hawkins. "We'd have to petition the NCAA for the sixth year. There is precedent.

"If he has a chance to make some money playing this game, we hae to look at that too," Hawkins said. "Basically it comes down to we owe David. Whatever is in David's best interest is what we have to concentrate on."

Game analysis: Syracuse 77, Western Michigan 53

By John Vogl

Syracuse 77, Western Michigan 53

How Syracuse won: Talent. Aside from that, the Orange won by stomping on Western Michigan at the start and refusing to let the Broncos up. Syracuse ran to a 17-4 lead through 8:21 to take away any upset dreams harbored by the No. 14 seed.

Turning point: The closest the Broncos got in the first half was eight points (19-11), and it was all Syracuse from there. The Orange went on a 14-2 run to re-establish their breathing room and cruise to the easy victory. Jerami Grant started the run with one of his crowd-pleasing dunks, and Tyler Ennis completed the game-changing spurt with back-to-back buckets, including a three-pointer.

Player of the game: For Syracuse to advance deep in the NCAA Tournament, it needs Trevor Cooney to make shots. He succeeded today, shooting 50 percent from the field (5 for 10) and three-point range (4 for 8) to finish with a game-high 18 points. Cooney had been mired in a 10-game slump in which he was shooting 28.1 percent overall (27 for 97) and only 25 percent from long distance (18 of 72).




Stat of the game: During the deciding first half, Western Michigan turned the ball over 11 times. Syracuse turned it into 13 points. The Orange, meanwhile, gave up no points off their four turnovers.

He said it: "We made too many mistakes in the first half, and Syracuse will make you pay." -- Western Michigan coach Steve Hawkins.

Up next: Saturday vs. No. 11 Dayton. The Flyers are soaring after a 60-59 upset of intrastate rival and No. 8 seed Ohio State.

Syracuse hardly breaks a sweat, opens NCAA Tournament with 77-53 victory over Western Michigan

By John Vogl

Jerami Grant gave the Syracuse fans what they wanted to see. He also helped give them a reason to beat the traffic.

Grant’s poster-worthy dunk over Western Michigan’s Shayne Whittington drew a thunderous mix of applause and astonished gasps this afternoon and was easily the highlight of Syracuse’s effortless 77-53 victory in First Niagara Center.




When Grant made his way to the bench for a breather midway through the second half, many in the orange-clad crowd of 19,260 gave him a nice ovation and headed toward the exits with the game easily in hand, 61-35.

Grant finished with 16 points as Syracuse improved to 28-5. Sophomore guard Trevor Cooney paced all scorers with 18 points, including four three-pointers. Orange backcourt mate Tyler Ennis added 16 points and six assists.

Western Michigan shot just 34.7 percent and was outrebounded, 41-25, in ending its season 23-10.

The Syracuse fans will be back Saturday when the No. 3 Orange meet 11th-seeded Dayton in the third round of the South Region.

Two big runs in the first half made the difference.

Syracuse backers stand and rhythmically clap until the first bucket by their squad, and they had a little bit of a wait. Grant made it worth it with a big dunk with 1:18 gone. It was just the start as the Orange opened the game with a 17-4 run.

Western Michigan gained its footing midway through the first half, pulling within eight points at 19-11. Unfazed, Syracuse responded with a 14-2 spurt to put no doubt who would advance to meet Dayton, which upset Ohio State, 60-59.

Ennis closed the run with back-to-back buckets, including a three-pointer, to make it 33-13 with 2:53 left. Syracuse had its highest-scoring first half since December and headed to the dressing room with a 40-21 lead.

The Orange scored 13 points off 11 first-half turnovers by the Broncos.

On balanced Dayton team, No. 4 scorer was go-to guy to shoot winner

By Mark Gaughan

University of Dayton coach Archie Miller had no doubt who was getting the shot when he called time out with 10 seconds left in his game against Ohio State today.

Miller inbounded to quick guard Vee Sanford. He's the team's sixth man, and he's the fourth-leading scorer. But Dayton is balanced. Sanford aveaged 9.9 points a game this season. The leading scorer, Jordan Sibert, averaged 12.5 points.

Sanford drove from the top of the key down the right side of the lane and sank a 7-foot bank shot with 4 seconds left to give Dayton a 60-59 victory.  

Miller described the play: "He’s the guy that can get the shot up. He’s been in that situation a lot for us. Most people who’ve watched us play have seen him come down that right lane line probably 20 times this season and bank that banker right off the glass. I was worried about him getting bottled up. We wanted to get him a lane where he could get downhill. Vee was able with his first step to get the first dribble by him. That was a big key in the play. Vee’s made that shot a lot. He’s terrific inside 15, 16 feet at making those type of shots. We had a lot of confidence in him. He’s the one guy who we can call his number and he can get it."

Said Sanford: "He wanted me to go right, that’s my strength. And if I had an opportunity to get to the basket, I have a high percentage of hitting the shot. So it was a well drawn-up play."

Syracuse vs. Western Michigan: First-half analysis

By John Vogl

Syracuse, seeded third in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament, is supposed to have an easy time today with No. 14 Western Michigan. So far, it is.

The Orange entered halftime this afternoon with a 40-21 lead over the Broncos in First Niagara Center. Sophomore guard Trevor Cooney paced all scorers in the first half with 12 points. Orange backcourt mate Tyler Ennis added 11.

Syracuse opened with 17 of the game’s first 21 points to earn round after round of applause from the orange-clad fans. Jerami Grant opened the game with a dunk, and Tyler Ennis hit a three-pointer with 7:54 gone to make it 17-4.

The Broncos simply couldn’t get in the saddle, as their passes were sloppy and shots off-target. Western Michigan shot just 2 of 7 through the opening eight minutes, including 0 for 3 on three-pointers, to fall into the 13-point hole.

A 7-2 run temporarily eased the pain, but Syracuse’ defense remained a head-scratching challenge for the Broncos. They had nine turnovers through 13 minutes, and they resulted in 10 points for the Orange.

The winner will play Saturday against No. 11 Dayton, which earned a 60-59 upset of seventh-seeded Ohio State.

Dayton knocks off Ohio State, 60-59, on bank shot with 4 seconds left

By Mark Gaughan

Senior guard Vee Sanford hit a running bank shot with 4 seconds left to give Dayton a 60-59 victory over Ohio State in the opening second round game of the NCAA Tournament at First Niagara Center.

Dayton found just enough scoring against the vaunted Ohio State defense to post a mild upset.

Dayton, seeded 11th in the East Region and the sixth-place finisher in the Atlantic 10 Conference, looked every bit the equal of the fifth-seeded Buckeyes throughout the game.

The Flyers advanced to a meeting on Saturday against either Syracuse or Western Michigan.

Dayton (24-10) got balanced scoring effort, led by sophomore forward Dyshawn Pierce, who had 12 points.

Ohio State guard Aaron Croft missed a running 12-foot bank shot at the buzzer.

Ohio State, ranked No. 22 in the nation and the fifth-place finisher in the Big 10, finished 25-10.



Buffalo pod a Big East reunion

By Jay Skurski

It's been a reunion of sorts this week inside the First Niagara Center.

Connecticut, Villanova and Syracuse were battling as Big East rivals just a season ago, but they've all found new homes this year in the ever-changing realignment of college conferences. They are all here in the Buffalo pod for second- and third-round NCAA Tournament games.

"It's very cool," said Villanova coach Jay Wright, whose Wildcats are the only team left in the Big East. UConn defected to the newly formed American Athletic Conference, while Syracuse joined the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Wright said he and his wife spent part of Tuesday night reminiscing in the hotel lobby with old friends, discussing the recent ESPN documentary, "Requiem for the Big East."

Huskies second-year coach Kevin Ollie said Wright and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim have been valuable resources for him.

"I've got so much respect for those guys. It was just great to see them and just always be around them," Ollie said. "They've been through so much. They always have an ear to lend when I need something on the road."

Boeheim, though, wasn't as warm and fuzzy about the Orange's exit from the conference.

"If the Bit East was exactly what it was years ago, then I wouldn't have wanted to leave, and it would have been a bad thing. But we didn't leave that. We left a league that was moving all over," he said. "You didn't know who was going to be where. It just wasn't the same."

That was especially true last week, when the new-look Big East Tournament was held at Madison Square Garden.

"The one thing I missed is the Big East Tournament -- the rivalry between us and different schools," Orange senior Baye Moussa Keita said. "Now you have to make new rivalries starting this year."

In addition to Syracuse and UConn, marquee teams like Louisville (AAC), Pitt (ACC), Notre Dame (ACC), Cincinnati (AAC), Rutgers (AAC) and South Florida (AAC) defected from the Big East. In their place are Creighton, Xavier and Butler.

"I don't have that nostalgia, because the league wasn't there," Boeheim said. "I mean, the Big East had changed so many times over the years, and it was just not the same."

Should Connecticut and Villanova win on Thursday, they'd play Saturday for a chance to advance to the Sweet 16 -- at MSG.

Calling it ritual not superstition, Martelli takes Saint Joseph's back to Canisius

By John Vogl

The last time Phil Martelli brought Saint Joseph's to Buffalo for the NCAA Tournament, he ruined a pair of sneakers stepping off the bus to practice at Canisius College. He also won two games, so planning his itinerary for this trip was simple.

He took the team back to Canisius.

"It's ritualistic, it's not superstitious," Martelli said in First Niagara Center.

Saint Joseph's was a nationwide darling in 2004. The Hawks started 27-0 that season behind point guard Jameer Nelson. They were a No. 1 seed that lost to Oklahoma State in the Elite Eight. They're No. 10 this time and facing No. 7 Connecticut.

"Maybe a little different vibe," Martelli said of the differences between Buffalo trips. "Not that you're treated differently, but you could feel that. There was a lot swirling around our team."

While thinking back to his 2004 squad, Martelli marveled at the season put together by Wichita State, which enters the tournament 31-0.

"Just 10 years ago, no texting, no tweeting, no spacebook or whatever that thing is called that they do," he said. "They just didn't have all those distractions.

"That's why I stand in admiration of what Wichita State has accomplished. They went through this whole thing, and you haven't heard about a kid jaywalking."

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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 |

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 |