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College Power 10: Golden Griffins sharing ball at prolific rate

The Canisius Golden Griffins are sharing the basketball at a fantastic rate for a team that has learned a new offense.

The Griffs rank fifth in the nation in assists per field goal made after an impressive win over Albany Monday. The Griffs had 20 assists on 26 field goals. For the season, they’re assisting on 68 percent of their baskets. Only Michigan State, Harvard, Holy Cross and Purdue have a better rate, according to the analytics site kenpom.com. Canisius leads this week’s College Power 10.

1. Canisius men’s basketball. New coach Reggie Witherspoon was happy with his team’s unselfishness and ball movement after the 77-64 win over an Albany team that was picked for third in the America East Conference.

“When you get 20 assists, that’s a really, really high number,” Witherspoon said. “That means they’re working with each other to get each other really good shots. We have a chance to get better. We have good shooters. When good shooters get good shots, over the long haul things will take care of themselves.”

The Canisius offense, averaging 77.9 points a game, will be a challenge for the University at Buffalo when the teams meet Saturday at KeyBank Center in the Big 4 Classic. Canisius is 6-5, UB 5-5.

2. Buffalo State men’s hockey. The Bengals upset Oswego, the No. 1-ranked Division III team in the nation, on Saturday. Senior Anthony Beaumont scored two goals and senior Mike DeLaVergne made 27 saves in the 5-1 rout of the Lakers.

Buffalo State moved up from No. 11 to No. 9 in this week’s U.S. College Hockey Online poll. The Bengals would have moved up more but lost the night before the Oswego game to Cortland, 3-0. The Bengals stand 9-3-1 overall and 5-2-1 in the State University of New York Athletic Conference. DeLaVergne leads the SUNYAC in save percentage at .964. Oswego (10-1, 8-1) remained No. 1.

3. UB women’s basketball. UB tied its best start in program history last week by improving to 8-0 with a win over Canisius. The Bulls are in the middle of a 12-day break before hosting St. Bonaventure Dec. 21.

4. Fredonia women’s basketball. Senior Alexis Cheatham (Lockport) scored eight of her 22 points in the fourth quarter as Fredonia rallied for a 72-70 win over Cortland. Fredonia is 8-1 and tied with Geneseo atop the SUNYAC. Two free throws by Kathryn Halloran (Immaculata) with three seconds left won it. Cheatham was named SUNYAC player of the week. Jenna Einink (Chautauqua Lake) had 23 for the Blue Devils.

5. Canisius hockey. The Griffs continued their promising start to the Atlantic Hockey Conference season with a win (4-3) and a tie (3-3) against Bentley. East Amherst junior Nolan Sheeran got the tying goal in the second game for the Griffs (6-8-3, 5-3-3), who stand fifth in the 10-team AHC.

6. Erie CC hockey. The Kats (13-2-1) won three games over the weekend and had to rally in two of them. Erie scored six unanswered goals in an 8-4 win over the Rochester Institute of Technology club team. The next night Erie defeated the University of Rochester club team, 4-3, by getting a tying goal in the third period and winning a shootout. Erie is off until Jan. 15 when it plays host to Hudson Valley CC.

7. Niagara CCC women’s basketball. The Thunderwolves improved to 12-0 with routs of Durham (Ont.) College (81-46) and the Community College of Rhode Island (80-46). Alliya Gillespie leads the team with a 13.1 ppg scoring average.

8. Villa Maria women’s basketball. The Vikings (6-5) have won six of their last seven after an 80-75 victory over Houghton. Freshman guard Armoni Jordan (South Park) leads Villa at 19.7 ppg.

9. Daemen’s Ashley Drzymala. The sophomore outside hitter earned Division II honorable mention All-America honors after leading the Wildcats to a 25-8 record and a Round of 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

10. Niagara CCC men’s basketball. Jamal Pollydore of Brooklyn scored 20 points to lead Niagara CCC to a 91-81 win over the Community College of Rhode Island. The Thunderwolves are 9-2.

email: mgaughan@buffnews.com

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