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WNY College hoops: No. 14 Seminoles roll past Griffs

Canisius hung with Florida State, a 19-point favorite, for the game’s first 26 minutes on the Seminoles’ home floor Monday night.

Then the size and talent of the 14th-ranked Seminoles (3-0) took over, and coach Leonard Hamilton’s team went on to a 93-61 victory over the Golden Griffins before 7,457 at the Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Fla.

A jump shot by sophomore Takal Molson brought the Griffs to within six points, 47-41, with 14:12 left in the second half. Florida State responded by running off 17 straight points with 6-foot-10, 250 pound Mfiondu Kabengele, a sophomore from Burlington, Ont., leading the way. He had seven points in the run. In the middle of it all was a technical could against Scott Hitchon of the Griffs which added two points to the Florida State run.

Canisius (1-2) was scoreless for nearly four minutes before Malik Johnson broke the drought with a 3-pointer.

Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Griffs had their last lead at 14-13 after a basket by junior forward Dantae St. Louis. Then the Seminoles ran off 10 straight points with Devin Vassell contributing six points and 7-4 Christ Koumadje ending it with an emphatic dunk.

Florida State led, 42-27, at the half before the Griffs began cutting into the lead starting with 3-pointers by Isaiah Reese and Johnson. Then came the FSU explosion.

The tired Griffs managed only seven points in the last 7:13 of the game.

"Florida State plays really, really hard on every possession," Witherspoon said. "I hope we learned a little bit of what it is like to compete like that for a full 40 minutes. We had some good stretches, especially there in the second half where we got it down to six, but there was that swing after the technical foul that we could just never get back from."

Johnson, the Griffs’ junior point guard, led his team with 20 points, the second 20-point game of his career. After missing all three of his 3-point tries in two games last week, Johnson made career high 5 of 6 threes on Monday. Molson and Reese had 15 points each for the Griffs, but were a combined 3 for 13 from 3-point range.

Canisius was outrebounded 37-21. The Seminoles were by Kabengele’s 18 points.  M.J. Walker and Terance Mann had 12 points each and Vassell 10 for FSU.

Bona falls in the Caymans

Georgia State erased an early 10-5 St. Bonaventure lead with an 11-0 run and went on to a 75-65 victory over the Bonnies on Monday in the first round of the Cayman Islands Classic at Grand Cayman Island.

That five-point lead was the Bonnies’ last. The Panthers of the Sun Belt Conference outscored Bona, 15-2, over a 5-minute stretch. St. Bonaventure closed to within five, 37-32, before halftime on a three-pointer by freshman Kyle Lofton, but Georgia State built the lead back to double-digits by starting the second half on a 12-5 run. The closest Bona got after that was eight points, 63-55.

Junior guard Jalen Poyser led St. Bonaventure with 23 points. He made 7 of 15 field goal tries, including 5 of 9 3-pointers and played all 40 minutes. Lofton finished with 13 points while senior Nelson Kaputo had 12 and freshman forward Alpha Okoli had 10. Bona was down to eight scholarship players again because of the absence of Courtney Stockard, LaDarien Griffin and Melkisedek Moreaux because of injuries.

Junior guard D’Marcus Simmons, a preseason All-Sun Belt Conference first team selection, had 25 points for the Panthers. Malik Benlevi, a 6-6 senior forward had 13 and freshman guard Nelson Phillips had 12 and was high rebounder in the game with nine.

St. Bonaventure shot 36.2 percent (21-58) and 44.4 on 3-pointers (12 of 27). Georgia State shot 50.8 (30 of 59) and 35.3 (6 of 17) on 3-pointers. Bona outrebounded the Panthers, 37-25, but had 18 turnovers to 12 for the winners.

The Bonnies will face Boise State, a 94-82 loser to Creighton on Monday, in the consolation bracket today.

MAAC honors Prochet

Niagara senior forward Marvin Prochet was named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference men’s basketball Player of the Week for the first time in his career. Prochet averaged 19.0 points and 11.0 rebounds as the Purple Eagles won two of the first three games, their best start to a season since 2009-10. Prochet had double-doubles in road games at Loyola of Chicago and a win at Wyoming.

Niagara women at Saint Joseph's
After earning their first victory in five starts over Morgan State, 67-57, on Saturday the Niagara women try to make it two in a row against Saint Joseph's (0-3) at 7 p.m. tonight in Hagan Arena in Philadelphia. The Purple Eagles and Hawks have met only once before in women's basketball with Saint Joseph's winning, 93-69, at the Gallagher Center a year ago.


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