After watching the University at Buffalo hoops team win its ninth game in its last 10, thanks in part to two players I put on my All-2000s team in today's paper (Rodney Pierce and Greg Gamble), I checked out Canisius' 78-69 home win over Grover Cleveland. On the way home, I listened to colleague Jerry Sullivan show why he's the best thing to listen to on local sports radio as he talked about Bruce Smith and Ralph Wilson being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And there's a hockey game tonight. Not a bad day for Buffalo sports.
After watching the Bulls beat Toledo and chowing at Duff's (were medium is HOT and where, for me, chicken wings will always begin and end), I headed to Canisius and my timing was pretty great: I walked in to a 53-53 game at the end of the third quarter.
Canisius had a 62-59 lead with 4:35 to play after a three-pointer by Grover's Ricky Alejandro; teammate Chris Holland and Canisius' Blair Helton also swished threes early in the quarter.
The Crusaders played some excellent team ball in the fourth despite missing four regulars -- Sean Brady and Andrew Zdrojewski to football recruiting trips and Taylor Baach and Max Milholland to illness. Canisius scored six straight points to take a 68-59 lead with 3:20 to play thanks to a three-point play by Helton after he hung in the air to draw a foul and score as well as a baseline jumper by junior Brian Graham (who had seven points and a nice back-door assist to Aaron Nevins in the fourth).
Grover got threes from big man Kenyon Edwards and Holland the rest of the way, but Canisius maintained its lead by neatly breaking Grover's press and hitting enough free throws to wrap things up.
A nice bounce-back for Canisius after being routed at Nichols, particularly without several key players, while Grover suffered its second loss of the week (Riverside on Tuesday). It'll be interesting to see how the large school poll is shaken up.
Speaking of Riverside, coach Ron Killinger was one of those taking in the game (Maryvale coach/uber-scout Mark Kensy was there with the video camera which just might be attached to his hand). Killinger has a small bandage covering a cut on his head. He got it playing hoops, of course. Those D-ing up coach Killinger might want to give him some room -- he put on a nice pump fake and caught a guy's tooth in his noggin. Ouch.
It was great that Canisius had a public address announcer, especially for a make-up game that understandably didn't draw that well. I'm all for enthusiastic PA youngsters, but, and this goes for anyone manning the mike: there's no talking during the action to give play-by-play. Also, when the whistle blows, that's because it's a foul -- not a "penalty."
Quick note: East Aurora is playing at Pioneer tonight in a key ECIC III game that wasn't on our schedule.
Don't forget about the big one Sunday: St. Joe's at St. Mary's at 1:30 p.m.
Oh, right, there's a super football game later on in the evening, too.