By Jonah Bronstein
Niagara Gazette — The Niagara County Community College men's basketball team held a share of the conference championship in its grasp Saturday and threw it away.
The Thunderwolves turned the ball over 15 times in the second half in surrending a double-digit lead to visiting Monroe CC, which locked up the WNYAC regular season title with a 77-66 win in Sanborn.
"Even when we turned them over and got the ball we threw it away," coach Bill Beilein said. "We had 25 turnovers, 23 from four of our starters. Literally, the whole statement of hte game is, we threw it away."
NCCC (20-8, 11-3), which had not lost a home game all year before Saturday, is now the No. 3 seed in next week's regional playoffs, and will host No. 6 seed Jamestown CC on Tuesday night. The winner will play No. 2 Erie CC on Saturday. Monroe (26-3, 13-1), the sixth-ranked Division II junior college team in the country, will host the tournament.
Isaiah Johnson led NCCC with 17 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. E.J. Sandoval had 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Jacob Hughes (Niagara-Wheatfield) had 10 points, six rebounds and two blocks.
The NCCC women's team lost its regular season finale 95-52 to Monroe (23-5) but will enter the regional playoffs as the third seed and play second-seeded Alfred State on Saturday at ECC. The Thunderwolves (13-14) have not reached the regional semifinals or won more than seven games since at least the 1999-2000 season. The college does not have records of season win totals prior to that.
Kristine Ripson (Lew-Port) led NCCC with 18 points. Jessica Curry (Wilson) had 16 points and nine rebounds.
Manhattan 65, UB 64
Turnovers cost the Bulls at Alumni Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Despite shooting 55 percent from the field, including 10 of 15 from beyond the arc, and outrebounding the Jaspers, 33-21, the Bulls couldn't overcome 24 turnovers that led to 29 Manhattan points.
"We just didn't take care of the basketball," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "When you shoot 21 of 38, you should win and we didn't."
Tony Watson continued his torrid shooting, knocking down a career-best seven 3-pointers on 10 attempts and finishing with a game-high 24 points. Javon McCrea notched his ninth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds. The junior forward also had a career-high six blocked shots and three steals.
Jarryn Skeete dished out a career-best 10 assists to go along with 11 points for his first career double-double.
Canisius 4, UNC Asheville 2
Senior Chris Gruarin (Niagara Falls) was 2-for-3 with a run scored and one RBI for the Crusaders, who split a doubleheader.
WOMEN'S TRACK & FIELD
Jazlyn Porter (Niagara Falls) finished third in the long jump (5.43m) and fourth in the 400-meter dash (1:00.17)
No. 14 Purdue 31, UB 10
Wally Maziarz (North Tonawanda) won the lone match for the Bulls, taking a 13-12 decision in the 157-pound class.