Ryan Bradley had himself a game.
That proved to be bad news for St. Joe's.
Riding the inside play of its senior big man, Canisius quickly turned a close game into a runaway triumph Tuesday night as the host Crusaders cruised to an 88-55 decision in boys basketball over their longtime Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association rival.
The 6-foot-7 Bradley scored a game-high 32 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Buffalo News' top-ranked large school to its 10th win in 11 starts. Moreover, Canisius also extended its string of consecutive victories against the Marauders to 14 and now heads into Friday night's Manhattan Cup rematch against last year's runner-up St. Francis having won two straight since suffering an-out-of-state loss to St. Pius X Catholic in Atlanta nearly two weeks ago.
"Big rivalry game, lots of energy, I just had to come out and do what I needed to do to help up win the game," said Bradley, who finished one-point shy of matching his career high 33 set last season.
With the Marauders hanging around until nearly midway through the second quarter, Canisius pulled away by getting the ball to Bradley – an All-Western New York honorable mention selection a year ago. Bradley scored 11 points during an 18-7 blitz that turned a 21-17 edge into a lead that continued to swell as the game progressed. Bradley drained a three, scored on a putback and even went coast-to-coast during the spree to get a rise out of the Blue Crew student section.
"When Ryan's aggressive like that, he's a great talent," Crusaders coach Kyle Husband said. "I hope he does that the rest of the season because he's such a matchup problem to other teams because of his length and his skill set."
Canisius, which played without starting senior guard Jayce Johnson (illness), led 44-28 at halftime as Bradley had 18 points at the break.
With Johnson watching from the bench, fellow seniors Austin James (11 assists, 10 points) and Nick MacDonald (14 points, seven assists) ran the offense and kept feeding Bradley and fellow big man Jon Evans (14 points) inside where the Crusaders had the edge.
"When our guards can pass the ball and play that kind of basketball, we have the ability to score and it was nice to see Ryan and Jon be the recipients of unselfish basketball," Husband said.
Regarding the contributions of Evans, a 6-5 senior:
"Jon's been working real hard all year," Husband said. "He's done a great job in his role and it was great to see him get on the scoresheet in such a positive matter."
Jack Capen led St. Joe's (5-7, 0-2) with 17 points.
"I thought we competed hard and that's a positive sign for us," Marauders coach Mark Simon said. "Obviously we couldn't handle them on the boards, (but) we worked very hard and did a lot of good things."
St. Joe's visits Bishop Timon-St. Jude on Friday, which defeated second-ranked Park, 56-55, on Tuesday night in South Buffalo.