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Rachel Lenzi - Buffalo, NY

Rachel Lenzi is a college/high school sports enterprise reporter at The Buffalo News. She has worked newspapers in Texas, Colorado, Maine and Ohio, and in digital in Michigan, covering high school, college and professional sports.


Colleges

ALLEGANY – Fatts Russell got choosy with his shots. When Russell keyed in on his target, it wore down the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team. Held to nine points in the first half, the guard from Rhode Island caught fire and scored 20 points in the second half and helped lift the Rams to a 81-75 win against the Bonnies on Saturday in front of 5,480 at the Reilly C…

Colleges

The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team gave itself a curt self-assessment in the wake of a 70-66 loss to Kent State. In particular, the Bulls had some choice words about their collective first-half output Friday before 3,554 at Alumni Arena. “Selfish ball, from the jump,” UB guard Davonta Jordan said. “Our defense, it translated to our offense, and we weren’…

Colleges

As a child, Josh Mballa always had a curiosity about basketball. He didn’t play organized basketball until he moved from Detroit to Bordeaux, France, with his mother, Mireille. A family friend who was a coach introduced him to the sport when he was 8 years old. Mballa quickly took to basketball. A couple years later, as he played different positions, he realized that…

Colleges

A Canisius High School graduate will join the College Football Playoff selection committee. The College Football Playoff announced Wednesday that John Urschel, a 2009 graduate of Canisius and a former NFL and Penn State lineman, is one of three new members that will join the selection committee in the spring for three-year terms. "I’m beyond excited to be a part of t…

Colleges

Greg Kuakumensah had an understated first half in Niagara’s 72-71 win Sunday against Siena. Kuakumensah had scored in double figures in five of his previous six games prior to Sunday, but the 6-foot-6 forward was scoreless in 12 minutes, 44 seconds on the floor, took only two shots and was called for two fouls. Kuakumensah, however, flipped a switch in the second hal…

Colleges

As Jim Whitesell has progressed through a coaching career that began nearly 40 years ago in North Dakota, he’s abided by one philosophy: Just win the next one. Along the way, Whitesell has won a few games as a head coach at the Division I, II and III levels. He reached a milestone in his 19th game as UB's head coach. Whitesell won his 400th game as UB defeated Wes…

Colleges

The choreographed moves Majesty Brandon makes at the free-throw line aren’t just for show. The routine he does before each shot puts him at ease. It isolates the noise and it allows him to get into a certain frame of mind. “It blocks everybody out,” said Brandon, a junior guard on the Canisius College men’s basketball team. “You’ve got people from the other team screami…

Colleges

Greg Paulus is a little hesitant to say if late-game heroics are becoming a standard for the Niagara men’s basketball team. Yet less than 48 hours after the Purple Eagles defeated Rider on Marcus Hammond’s buzzer-beater, they earned a 72-71 win against Siena on account of a goaltending call against the Saints with less than a minute left in regulation. Sunday at the …

Colleges

PITTSBURGH – Each time Jordan Nwora came off the court at Park School, he found the open seat on the bench closest to his coach and immediately started pleading his case as to why he belonged back on the court. “He’d tell me, ‘Put me back in!’ ” said Mike Battaglia, Nwora’s coach at Park. “ ‘I won’t just shoot! I’ll rebound! I’ll pass the ball!’ He wouldn’t immediately …

Colleges

College was fun for Malik Johnson. A point guard on the Canisius men’s basketball team, he spent his first two years working on his degree in sports management and enjoying the spoils of college life. But he considered some of the excess as he entered his third year of college. Johnson knew there was room to get serious – personally, academically and athletically. He…

Colleges

Summer Hemphill underwent knee surgery and is expected to miss the remainder of the season, the University at Buffalo women’s basketball program confirmed in a release this week. Hemphill has not played this season after being injured in the preseason. A UB athletic department spokesperson told The News that UB has the option to petition for a medical redshirt for He…

Colleges

ALLEGANY – When Kyle Lofton went to the bench with his fourth foul, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team needed to exercise its depth. Jaren English and Matt Johnson stepped onto the court with less than 11 minutes left in Bona’s 64-44 win against Fordham on Saturday at the Reilly Center. English and Johnson gave the Bonnies a necessary lift in their first game …

Colleges

Blocking shots almost always came naturally to Osun Osunniyi. Almost. He established himself as an inside presence and a Division I prospect as a high school senior in New Jersey, when he sprouted to 6-foot-9 and used his length and speed to beat players to the ball. But the year before he joined the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball team, he attended Putnam Scienc…

Colleges

The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team looks to avoid some dubious history. The Bulls continue a two-game road trip at 7 p.m. Friday at Miami (Ohio), and look to avoid an 0-3 start in Mid-American Conference play for the first time since 2013. The game is on CBS Sports Network. The Bulls (9-6, 0-2 MAC) also haven’t lost three games in a row since Nov. 29-Dec. 7…

Colleges

The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team's furious attempt at a comeback fell short on Saturday. Less than 14 seconds after Jayvon Graves gave the Bulls a one-point lead on a pair of free throws with 33.5 seconds left, Davonta Jordan fouled Trendon Hankerson, who sank two free throws to give the lead back to Northern Illinois. Then, with three seconds left, Jo…