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The Canisius Golden Griffins were Team Inconsistent the past three years.

It was hard to tell from one game to the next who might score in double figures. With an exception or two, it was hard to predict which players would play more than 25 minutes in a given game.

Through six games this year, the Griffs are trying hard to shed their old image.

Canisius has been a model of steadiness and hopes to keep it that way when it meets a struggling St. Bonaventure team at 7:35 p.m. Saturday (Radio 930) at Memorial Auditorium.

Canisius stands 4-2 and has played reasonably well in all six games.

Against third-ranked Syracuse Wednesday, the Griffs gave further proof that they might, in fact, be for real.

They stayed close to the Orange before losing, 92-83.

Griff coach Marty Marbach credits the change in part to good defense.

"The defense has been the constant," Marbach said.

"On offense, we're getting balanced scoring. I don't think teams can focus on any one guy, and our players are doing a better job of understanding the flow of the game. But our confidence this season has begun with our defense."

Canisius is holding the opposition to 36 percent shooting from the field and is outrebounding foes by 5.5 boards a game.

"I think they've jelled," said St. Bona coach Tom Chapman. "They've reached a level of maturity we haven't seen before."

On offense, four Griffs are averaging in double figures -- Nixon Dyall (13.8 points per game), Ed Book (13.7 ppg), Harry Seymour (11.0 ppg) and Chuck Giscombe (10.7 ppg). Those four and the other starter, point guard Rodney Brown, each are averaging more than 25 minutes a game.

"The point guard play has had a lot to do with it," Marbach said. "Rod and Binky (Johnson) have not been throwing the ball all over the lot."

Of course, six games does not consistency make, and Marbach's hope is the Griffs will be as mentally ready as they were in the Carrier Dome.

"We've had an emotional victory at the Marist Classic and a big game at Syracuse. We have to make sure we prepare ourselves mentally and emotionally," he said.

St. Bonaventure (2-5), meanwhile, suffered a disappointing, 73-71 loss to Niagara Monday.

In addition, Bona star Michael Burnett sprained his knee in the game and is questionable for Saturday.

"He will dress and we expect to use him sparingly," Chapman said.

A limited Burnett would make things tough on the young Bonnies, who are short on veteran leadership as it is.

Chapman said he does not sense the team is discouraged.

"I think we've bounced back," he said.

"We had a very hard practice today. This is out of the book of quotes, but we know we have to continue to work hard."

Bona leads the series, 83-49.

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