Niagara Gazette

Sports

November 24, 2009

MEN'S BASKETBALL: Griffs shock UB in final seconds

AMHERST — The Canisius basketball faithful might finally have a team they can be faithful for.

Frank Turner drove coast-to-coast and banked in a short runner with 1.5 seconds left Tuesday as the Golden Griffins defeated Buffalo 73-71 in front of 3,392 fans at Alumni Arena on Tuesday.

“We thought this was going to be one of those college basketball games that everybody would enjoy and it would come down to the last possession like always does,” said Tom Parrotta, who won a road game against a local rival for the first time in his four years coaching at Canisius.

“I said the gloves would come off, and the gloves came off. This is going to be one for the ages. Not to sound corny, but I think it made a lot of people’s nights. I think it was a good, hard-fought college basketball game.”

Turner, Parrotta’s first recruit and the only senior in the current rotation, grabbed Calvin Betts’ missed layup off the rim with seven seconds left and burst up the floor for the winning layup.

“Coach is always telling us be tough, grab the rebound,” said Turner, who finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. “I grabbed the rebound after Alshwan (Hymes) contested the shot, and it was just one-on-one with Rodney Pierce.”

Pierce’s halfcourt shot at the buzzer just missed after banking off the backboard.

The Golden Griffins slapped the Bulls logo at midcourt afterward, proud to have ended a five-game losing streak in the series.

But UB coach Reggie Witherspoon downplayed the intensity of this local rivalry in his postgame comments.

“Our rivals are in the (Mid-American) conference,” he said. “We’ve never viewed this as a Big 4 rivalry. It’s never been a situation where our guys have circled it on our schedule. We’ve said that when we’ve won and when we’ve lost.”

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