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UB Bulls vs. Canisius Griffins live-blog

Photo of Zach Filzen by Dave Marino

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

—————-End of Game, 94-59 Buffalo——————

:40 —Corey Raley-Ross sticks a jumper from the baseline, and Buffalo holds the ball after a wild layup miss by Canisius. A lopsided affair tonight in favor of Buffalo, and Reggie Witherspoon’s team coasts to an easy non-conference win.

1:21—Sean Ezeamama and Richie Sebuharara enter the lineup for Canisius and UB, respectively. Dhal hits one of two free throws. 92-59 Buffalo—the fans are clamoring for 100 points, but it may be tough.

1:52—Traveling called on Harold Washington, who’s quickly replaced by David Santiago. Raphell Thomas-Edwards enters the game for his first action of the season. Downing uses his strength to embarrass Dhal again, and Downing is scoring at will.

3:05—Cameron Downing draws a foul in the paint, and he drills the first from the line. The second is good, too. Gaby Belardo sails in for a layup after a Buffalo turnover, but it’s far, far too late. Cameron Downing breaks down Marial Dhal in the post, backing him deep into the painted area and scoring off the window.

3:17—Xavier Ford tries a lob pass over the top of the Canisius zone, and it’s picked off. Foul on Cameron Downing before Canisius can advance the ball up the floor—Franklin Milian shoots one and one for the Griffs, and the first falls.

3:51—Not a whole lot of drama at the conclusion of this one—Tom Parrotta doesn’t look too disappointed, but he’ll have to find a way to manage with his personnel—especially keeping Chris Manhertz out of foul trouble. Five fouls in 24 minutes just isn’t going to cut it. The bench empties for UB—Xavier Ford, Corey Raley-Ross and Cameron Downing enter the game.

3:51—Even Titus Robinson is having his way with the Griffins’ undersized frontcourt. Undaunted by 6’10 beanpole Kevin Bleeker, Robinson backed into the right block and scored off the window. 83-55. The Bulls have five players in double-figures, with Filzen leading the way with 19.

4:19—Good trap in the corner out of the zone by UB against Alshwan Hymes, who’s forced to burn a timeout. 81-55 Buffalo, and we’re in garbage-minutes territory now. Surprised we haven’t seen any more of Xavier Ford, Cameron Downing and Corey Raley-Ross.

4:27—Reggie Groves is really steaming—he’s already picked up one technical foul, and Tony Watson II has really gotten under his skin. Usually soft-spoken, it’s a little surprised to see some fire from the Griffins’ starting point guard tonight.

5:31—Harold Washington drills two free throws after McCrea’s fourth foul. The real test for the Bulls this year seems to be how they’ll fare on the road—they’ve been excellent at home (3-0). Great bounce pass from Oldham to Titus Robinson and the weakside, and that might have been Robinson’s easiest bucket in his career. 79-54 Buffalo.

5:53—Twisting drive to the rim by Alshwan Hymes brings the Griffins within…21.  Parrotta calls a timeout—for what reason, I don’t know. So undersized, David Santiago commits another foul. Tony Watson II swishes both free throws.

6:04—73-50 Buffalo now after UB’s wireless stopped working, and Josiah Heath just picked up his fifth and disqualifying foul. Perilously thin in the frontcourt to begin with, the Griffins are basically playing with five guards on the floor right. Javon McCrea has had his way in the paint.

7:56—McCrea drills the free throw—a part of his game that’s improved exponentially this year. McCrea tears down a rebound after a Hymes missed three, and Reggie Groves commits a frustration foul. The flood-gates have opened now— 67-48 Buffalo, and UB is shooting one-and-one.

8:03—Javon McCrea just took Manhertz—nursing four fouls—to school. Javon’s quick first step sent him past Canisius’ lone good big man, and Manhertz fouled him—and the bucket! 66-48 Buffalo.

8:22—Harold Washington grabs a loose ball and explodes down the floor—he doesn’t shoot, though, and the pass is tipped out of bounds by Oldham. Technical foul on Reggie Groves, who was baited into the T by Tony Watson II’s ever-jubilant mug. Groves had kicked his own dribble out of bounds on the previous play.

8:43—Four turnovers and five assists for Oldham tonight—not quite the ratio that Witherspoon wants from his point guard.

8:54—Turnover by Oldham in the backcourt, and Harold Washington sprints down the floor for a dunk. 62-48 Bulls, and perhaps Washington’s fast-break slam shifted the momentum in the Griffs’ favor.

9:33—Tribal yell from Nuiriankh as he checks back to an inbounds pass. Gaby Belardo picks up a ticky-tack foul on the perimeter—his first.

10:44—Nuiriankh misses a jumper, and Mitchell Watt is inches away from a violent put-back slam. Zach Filzen just tied Rodney Pierce for third all-time in three pointers made. Jarod Oldham just stepped into a passing lane and dashed down the floor for a fast-break dunk. 62-46 Buffalo.

11:09—Buffalo’s been content to match Canisius bucket for bucket in the second half—Reggie Witherspoon’s team has shown a frightening inability to pull away from its opponent, but they’re doing well to maintain a double-digit advantage. Both Watt and Filzen have 16 for the Bulls—a break out game of sorts for the latter.

11:29—After a Belardo pass caromed off the head of a defender, UB sprinted out in transition—Filzen hit a soft eight-footer on the break. Turnover by Alshwan Hymes, and we’re at the under 12 timeout. 57-46 Buffalo.

12:38—Dave Barnett leaves his defender Milian planted in the ground, and he soars to the bucket for a lay-in. Not to be outdone, Milian puts back his own miss at the other end. Milian tears down a rebound after a missed Filzen drive—it’s a real two-man game out here right now.

13:05—Gaby Belardo’s 26-footer—from Lockport, almost—snaps through the net. 53-44 UB, but the lead has been trimmed to under 10. 13 points for Belardo, including 3-4 from downtown.

13:50—Scratch that—two shot foul. Groves missed them both, and Tony Watson II scored again off the window for Buffalo. Alshwan Hymes sinks a mid-range jumper—Reggie Witherspoon and Jim Kwitchoff holler for a double-dribble.

14:16—Reggie Groves launches a three from the right corner, and the Bulls’ Mitchell Watt nicks the shooter’s hand. Three shots for Reggie, but the first shot is a brick. 51-38 Buffalo.

14:52—Fourth foul on Manhertz, and Dhal comes sprinting up to the scorer’s table. Fade-away from the left corner by Tony Watson II is good! Franklin Milian enters the game for the first time for Canisius, replacing Harold Washington.

15:07—Manhertz sinks both free throws without a problem—looks like former NBAer Butch Graves’ summer coaching has paid off.

15:07—Under 16 timeout, 49-36 Buffalo. At this point, Canisius can’t really score at a quick enough rate for them to come back.

15:34—An offensive rebound by Barnett and a tough shot inside by 6’3 guard Filzen puts Buffalo back up by 13. The senior shooting guard looks a little more confident tonight. Manhertz takes an entry feed from Washington, tries a drop-step on McCrea—the Canisius big man misses the lay-in but draws the third foul on McCrea.

16:37 —Chris Manhertz picks up another unnecessary foul in the backcourt. Oldham swoops to the rim—misses, but Javon McCrea puts it back for an easy hoop. Reggie Groves uses the Manhertz screen effectively, but he travels as he looks for a teammate to distribute to.

17:41—Immediately after entering the game, Belardo pump-fakes Barnett off his feet and drills a three. After a Filzen missed three, Washington careens into the lane and easily drops in a floater. Errant pass by Oldham gives the ball back to Canisius, and it’s a mini-run for the Griffs after the timeout. 45-36 Buffalo.

18:12—Belardo, Groves, Manhertz, Hymes and Washington on the floor for Canisius; McCrea, Filzen, Oldham, Watt and Barnett for Buffalo. Belardo brings the ball up the floor for the first time all game.

18:33—McCrea makes one of two from the stripe, and Parrotta encourages Washington to push the basketball hard up the floor. Washington turns the ball over, however, and Zach Filzen spots up in transition and tickles the twine on a three. Buffalo leads 45-31, and the 14-point advantage is the Bulls’ biggest of the game.

18:58—Quick cut off an inbounds pass frees Harold Washington, who fearlessly drives into Mitchell Watt’s body, scores and draws the foul! The free throw is no good, however, but Washington is finally on the board. McCrea battles for a loose ball in the post, rips it away from Manhertz and narrowly finishes an “and-one” opportunity. He’ll head to the line for two shots. 41-31 Buffalo.

19:23—Nice post feed by Zach Filzen to Mitchell Watt, who scores on a sweeping hook shot off glass. Reggie Groves wriggles into the lane and sees his shot partially blocked by Javon McCrea.

Halftime—The most important category stat? Buffalo leads Canisius 12-4 on second-chance points.

Halftime—Javon McCrea’s only attempted one shot from the floor, and he has as many points as he does turnovers. Reggie Groves paces the Griffs in scoring with 10, while UB’s Mitchell Watt leads all scorers with 14 points, five rebounds, three blocks and two steals.

Halftime—Very quiet first half for Harold Washington, who leads the MAAC in scoring average at 21 point per game. Washington is scoreless on four shots from the field and only has two assists. Credit the Bulls’ Jarod Oldham for suffocating defense.

—————-Halftime, 39-29 Buffalo——————

:08—Reggie Witherspoon brings both his hands to his head in frustration after Tony Watson II failed to run the set play. The Bulls settled for a 15-foot off-balance shot by Titus Robinson—obviously not what was drawn up—and it’s an air-ball.

:24—Wild shot by Alshwan Hymes misses the rim entirely, and Reggie Witherspoon signals for a timeout—one more possession for UB with the shot-clock off. Still a 10 point advantage for the Bulls.

1:09—Titus Robinson checks in for Buffalo. Reggie Groves’ three rims out—it was half-way down—and UB takes over. Canisius freshman forward Kevin Bleeker rejects Dave Barnett’s drive to the hoop—that’s how the lanky Netherlands-native contributes for the Griffs—quietly but effectively.

1:26 —Watt will shoot two more from the line—the first is good. 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks for Mitch in a stellar first half. 39-29 Buffalo.

2:15—Xavier Ford enters the game for Buffalo for the first time. Mitch Watt hits one of two from the stripe, and Belardo snags the rebound. Offensive foul on Chris Manhertz, who looks stunned that there’s been a foul called on him. Dave Barnett slinks out to the left corner nails a three—Reggie Witherspoon’s been pushing him to be more assertive from the field, and the East Aurora graduate has taken his coach’s advice.

2:15—Pretty feeble student section today, largely because most students are home on Thanksgiving break. The non-student turnout looks solid, however, as the lower bowl is 90% full at the north end.

2:22—“Alshwan looks like he just got out of a swimming pool,” notes the Spectrum’s Matt Parrino. Yes, the Canisius guard is dripping with sweat. 33-29 Bulls after Reggie Groves nailed a trey from straight on.

3:51—After Oldham’s miss, however, Robinson gathered the loose ball and fired a no-look pass to a wide-open Watt under the hoop—leading to an uncontested jam. 33-24 UB now after Watt and Groves trade buckets. Gaby Belardo drills a 15-foot fadeaway, however.

4:39 —Mitchell Watt sinks two free throws after Chris Manhertz commits his first foul. Fine hustle from Titus Robinson to recover on defense and knock away a Hymes pass. Alshwan’s three is no good from the left wing, but Oldham misses a lay-in at the other end.

4:45—A pretty dish from Oldham to a cutting Watt seems like it’s going to set up a powerful dunk, but Mitch’s slam attempt flies hard off the back rim. Titus Robinson wins the battle for the rebound, and knocks the ball off Canisius.

5:19—Unorthodox-looking baseline jumper by Josiah Heath with the shot-clock under five swishes through the bucket, and Alshwan Hymes thieves at the other end. Canisius turnover, however.

5:50—Strong drive down the right side of the lane by Barnett, who took a good angle to the bucket baseline before scooping it off glass for the hoop. 27-20 Buffalo.

6:21—Thunderous rejection by Mitchell Watt! Josiah Heath just got “watted” because he didn’t go up strong enough. Harold Washington’s three ball is off, and Oldham grabs the rebound.

7:08—Only four turnovers so far for Buffalo, a good sign for the Bulls. Offensive foul on Javon McCrea for a moving screen, and that’s his second. McCrea scratches his head in frustration, offering the usual bemused by slightly perplexed look.

7:08—The Bulls turn to a play that’s worked several times this year—a screen down low that leads to a lob from a guard to the non-screening big man. Tony Watson II, who’s put in some excellent minutes tonight (and made me eat my words in the process), found Titus Robinson un-guarded at the rim. 25-20 Bulls.

8:01—Another smart entry pass from the first-year starter Oldham, as McCrea made himself big in the post, ducked beneath two defenders and tucked a shot in off-glass. Hymes’ three is way off, but Chris Manhertz grabs the air-ball and finishes at the rim.

8:50—Josiah Heath proves tenacious inside, scoring on a put-back and then corralling a rebound at the other end. Alshwan Hymes draws Auraum Nuiriankh off his feet and leans into him—a shooting foul against the Bulls. Hymes first toss is good—21-18 Bulls. Oldham and Barnett return for Buffalo.

9:20—Great entry pass from Tony Watson II to Titus Robinson, who sealed his defender and scored off glass with his right hand. After an errant pass from Reggie Groves, UB stormed back the other way—Zach Filzen canned a three from the left wing, and Canisius head coach Tom Parrotta disgustedly calls a timeout. 21-15 UB, an 11-0 run for the Bulls.

10:14—Good find by Nuiriankh, setting up Tony Watson II for a wide-open three. The shot is true, and UB takes its first lead since the first minute.

10:52—Dhal is overly aggressive in the block, and Manhertz returns to the game after the 7’3 center is whistled for his second foul. Over the back foul on Titus Robinson after a miss by Nuiriankh—Canisius ball.

11:39—Marial Dhal checks in for Canisius. Filzen’s three rims out, but Mitchell Watt hustles after the loose ball for a new shot clock. A skip pass to Filzen—the shooting guard beats Harold Washington with a ball-fake, then explodes to the rim and scores while drawing the foul on Dhal! Free throw is good—15-13 Canisius.

11:45 —Gaby Belardo’s been an aggressor early, tacking on five points off the pine. He’s wearing a pretty serious knee brace on his left leg, and it was a little strange that he didn’t start. We’ll see how much the injury is ailing him as the night progresses.

12:19—The points are raining in now, as Gaby Belardo swished a contested three from the right wing. 15-10 Griffins. Tony Watson II attempts a give-and-go with Mitchell Watt, and Canisius’ Josiah Heath manages to get a toe on the bounce pass—media timeout. 15-10 Griffins.

13:16—Auraum Nuiriankh misses an 18-footer badly, and Canisius hurries up the floor in transition—Gaby Belardo whips into the lane and scores off glass. Nuiriankh attacks the bucket this time and scores on the drive.

14:24 -- Mitchell Watt knocks down a three from straight on—no Griffin stepped out to challenge him. In a contest of most-rare three pointers, Reggie Groves of Canisius banks in a three from the right wing. We doubt that he called “glass.” Over the shoulder foul on McCrea, and Titus Robinson checks in. 10-8 Griffins.

15:36—Groves tries an entry pass to McCrea, but Manhertz gets a finger on it and corrals the loose ball. Great battle inside between two really strong individuals. Nuiriankh and Manhertz trade misses, and it’s UB ball. 

15:48—Hymes is noticeably faster this year for Canisius—there were long stretches last season where his conditioning looked suspect, and that certainly affected the consistency of his three point shot. Now, with added strength and stamina, Hymes won’t lose his legs late—and opponents are thinking twice about standing in his way.

16:01—Alshwan Hymes swishes a 16-footer from the right corner—a thing of beauty for the sharp-shooter. At the other end, recently turnover-prone big man Javon McCrea is caught traveling, bringing us to the first media timeout of the evening. 7-5 Griffins lead.

16:40—Upset by his missed free throws, Groves darts in to pick Oldham’s pocket and convert a fastbreak lay-in. 5-5 tie. Watt drives at Heath and can’t convert on the eight footer.

17:03—Canisius’ Reggie Groves sneaks into the lane and is fouled by Jarod Oldham, who was a little slow to recover. Groves will shoot two from the stripe, and the first isn’t close. Neither is the second, and Dave Barnett hauls down the board.

17:24 —Alshwan Hymes steamrolls down the lane, drilling into the center of Mitchell Watt’s chest—it’s a charge. Bulls’ point guard Oldham penetrates again, drawing a foul.

18:02—Forced entry pass by Manhertz is a poor decision—fortunately for Canisius, though, the ball bounces back to Hymes. Both teams open up in man-to-man tonight. With the shot-clock running out, Harold Washington’s off-balance three clangs hard off the iron.

19:07—Alshwan Hymes matches Filzen’s three with a high-arcing shot over Mitchell Watt’s outstretched arm. Mitchell Watt finishes a smooth shot in the post, then Watt smashes Reggie Groves’ shot on the break. Traveling on Watt, however, and Canisius takes over trailing 5-3.

19:44—Manhertz and McCrea immediately match-up with each other—can’t wait for that head-to-head battle. Filzen takes the inbounds pass from Oldham and swishes a three—a promising start for the senior.

Pre-game—Jarod Oldham, Zach Filzen, Javon McCrea, Dave Barnett and Mitchell Watt start for Buffalo.

Pre-game—Plenty of feature previews on the Canisius basketball team: Chris Manhertz, Gaby Belardo and Harold Washington.

Pre-game—Tonight would be a good time for Bulls’ shooting guard Zach Filzen to break out. He’s been decent from beyond the arc so far this year—8 for 23—but the mid-range game that he focused on most of last year has vanished. On non-three point field goals, he’s 3 for 10. Witherspoon would certainly like his best shooter to be more assertive, and it feels like it’s only a matter of time before Filzen puts up 25 points and eight threes.

Pre-game—Canisius sits at 1-2, with its lone win a thrilling road victory over Longwood. Newcomer Harold Washington runs the show, while Chris Manhertz has improved considerably in the paint. Has he improved enough where he can go toe-to-toe with UB’s Javon McCrea? We’ll see shortly.

Pre-game—The UB Bulls (2-1) are coming off a disastrous 61-53 loss to Princeton, where the game wasn’t as close as the score would indicate. Horrendous first half shooting—5 for 30—doomed the Bulls.

Pre-game—There’s a little more buzz about these Canisius vs. University at Buffalo match-ups, even if there’s not a ton of significance from a win-lose standpoint. It’s a non-conference game, for sure, but the notion of defending one’s home floor, proving that your school is the alpha basketball team in Buffalo—that’s really what matters tonight.

TAGGED: canisius griffins, maac, mac basketball, reggie witherspoon, tom parrotta, university at buffalo bulls

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