Billy Baron to play for Lithuania’s Lietuvos Rytas

By Nick Veronica

Former Canisius guard Billy Baron will join the Lithuanian club Lietuvos Rytas, he announced Monday evening on his Instagram account.

The team confirmed the signing Tuesday morning and a representative told me Baron is on a one-year deal with no option. He will be a free agent after the season.

Lietuvos Rytas is ranked fourth in the latest EuroBasket Top 100 rankings. The team had the best record in Lithuania’s domestic league last season at 18-2 but was upset in the semifinals.

Rytas will be featured in NBA 2K15. The team’s Siemens Arena seats 11,000.

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Lithuania touches the Baltic Sea and borders Poland, Belarus, Latvia and a chunk of Russian land in Eastern Europe. The team is located in Vilnius, the capital city of more than half a million people – roughly the size of Tuscan, Ariz. One US dollar is worth 2.55 Lithuanian Litas, though Lithuania plans to adopt the Euro in 2015.

Baron was the MAAC Player of the Year this past season and averaged 5.6 points per game with the Chicago Bulls in NBA Summer League with 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Jimmy Baron, Billy’s older brother, plays professional for Virtus Roma in Italy and previously played in Russia.

Canisius hockey opens HarborCenter era vs. Ohio State

By Nick Veronica

CCLogobigCanisius hockey opens the 2014-15 season with two games at the First Niagara Center and ushers in the HarborCenter era against Ohio State on Halloween, according to today’s schedule announcement.

Because HarborCenter may not be completed by the start of the season, Canisius opens with a two-game series against Western Michigan at the First Niagara Center on Oct. 10 and 11, with both games starting at 7:35 p.m.

The Griffs then have two weekends of conference games on the road before the inaugural HarborCenter series against Ohio State — coach Dave Smith’s alma mater — on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Canisius played Ohio State for the first time in school history last season, losing 3-0 and 3-1 in Columbus.

Canisius will not face Niagara at the HarborCenter this year, traveling to Dwyer Arena for games on Jan. 22 and 24. The Griffs face RIT at the HarborCenter on Nov. 14 and 15. Canisius plays both teams only twice this season instead of four times (an option under the new 11-team scheduling format), but with Niagara and RIT being two of the better AHA teams, four fewer games against them may end up helping Canisius in the standings.

Canisius travels to Maine for its final nonconference action, Jan. 2 and 3.

The Atlantic Hockey playoffs begin March 6. The championship weekend at Blue Cross Arena is March 20 and 21.

Here’s a nifty infograph from GoGriffs:

Full schedule:

Oct. 5 Toronto (Exhibition), TBA 6:35 p.m.
Oct. 10 Western Michigan, First Niagara Center 7:35 p.m.
Oct. 11 Western Michigan, First Niagara Center 7:35 p.m.
Oct. 17 Army, West Point, N.Y. 7:05 p.m.
Oct. 18 Army, West Point, N.Y. 7:05 p.m.
Oct. 24 AIC, Springfield, Mass. 7:05 p.m.
Oct. 25 AIC, Springfield, Mass. 7:05 p.m.
Oct. 31 Ohio State, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Nov. 1 Ohio State, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Nov. 7 Sacred Heart, Milford, Conn. 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 8 Sacred Heart, Milford, Conn. 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 14 RIT, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Nov. 15 RIT, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Nov. 21 Mercyhurst, Erie, Pa. 7:05 p.m.
Nov. 22 Mercyhurst, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Nov. 28 Air Force, HarborCenter 2:05 p.m.
Nov. 29 Air Force, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Dec. 5 AIC, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Dec. 6 AIC, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Jan. 2 Maine, Maine 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 3 Maine, Maine 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 9 Holy Cross, HarborCenter 11:05 a.m.
Jan. 10 Holy Cross, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Jan. 16 Bentley, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Jan. 17 Bentley, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Jan. 22 Niagara, Lewiston, N.Y. 7:05 p.m.
Jan. 24 Niagara, Lewiston, N.Y. 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 6 Robert Morris, Pittsburgh, Pa. 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 7 Robert Morris, Pittsburgh, Pa. 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 13 Army, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Feb. 14 Army, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Feb. 20 Mercyhurst, Erie, Pa. 7:05 p.m.
Feb. 21 Mercyhurst, HarborCenter 7:35 p.m.
Feb. 27 Air Force, USAF Academy, Colo. 9:05 p.m.
Feb. 28 Air Force, USAF Academy, Colo. TBA

UB announces 2014-15 nonconference basketball schedule, Bulls visit two Final Four teams

By Nick Veronica

ublogoUB announced its nonconference basketball schedule Wednesday morning, including games at Kentucky and Wisconsin, Final Four teams a season ago. Both are big pulls for second-year coach Bobby Hurley.

As agreed upon last year, UB and Canisius will play another game downtown at the First Niagara Center, on Nov 29. UB travels to Big 4 rival St. Bonaventure on Dec. 3 and hosts Niagara Dec 19.

This year’s opponents combined to finish 217-212 in 2013-14.

Full nonconference schedule
(“vs.” games are home, “at” games are away, last year’s record in parenthesis)

Nov. 14 vs. South Dakota State (19-13, 10-4 Summit)

Nov. 16 at Kentucky (29-11, 12-6 SEC, national runners-up)*

Nov. 18 at Texas-Arlington (15-17, 9-9 Sun Belt)*

Nov. 21. vs. Montana State (14-17, 9-11 Big Sky)*

Nov. 25 at Grand Canyon (15-15, 10-6 WAC)*

Nov. 29 vs. Canisius at First Niagara Center  (23-13, 14-6 MAAC)

Dec. 3 at St. Bonaventure (18-15, 6-10 Atlantic 10)

Dec. 7 at Robert Morris (22-14, 14-2 Northeast)

Dec. 16 vs. Drexel (16-14, 8-8 Colonial)

Dec. 19 vs. Niagara (7-26, 3-17 MAAC)

Dec. 28 at Wisconsin (30-8, 12-6 Big Ten, Final Four participant)

Dec. 30 at Binghamton (7-23, 4-12 America East)

Jan. 3 vs. Cornell (2-26, 1-13 Ivy)

*Part of a tournament

NBA Summer League schedules & results: Billy Baron, Javon McCrea, Mitchell Watt, Jordan Heath

By Nick Veronica | @NickVeronica

Four local college products have signed on with teams for the NBA’s summer league. Teams are guaranteed at least four games.

Some games will be shown live on NBA TV while a package for every game can be purchased for $14.99 through NBA Summer League Live.

Schedules for the Big 4 products are listed below and will be updated with stats after each game:

Billy Baron (Canisius) — Chicago Bulls

Games in Las Vegas

Saturday, July 12 vs. Los Angeles Clippers — W 86-70, 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting in 19:06 off the bench; 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal, no turnovers (box score). Also made summer league’s top plays with this shot:

Sunday, July 13 vs. Denver Nuggets — W 103-76, 3 points on 1-of-4 3-pointers, 6 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 foul, no turnovers in 15:45 off the bench (box score).

Tuesday, July 15 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – W 107-73, 8 points on 2-of-6 shooting, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist, no turnovers in 17:02 off the bench (box score).

Playoffs

First round, Wednesday, July 16: First round bye

Second round, Thursday, July 17: Overall No. 1 seed Bulls vs. 16-Philadelphia 76ers — W 79-68, 3 points on 1-of-7 shooting, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls in 17:07 off the bench (box score).

Quarterfinals, Saturday, July 19: 1-Bulls vs. 8-Sacramento Kings, 8 p.m. – L 80-61, 3 points on 1-of-11 shooting, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers in 23:02 off the bench (box score). Season over.

Final stats: 5.6 points per game, .257 field goal percentage, .263 on 3-pointers, 3.4 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game, 1.2 steals per game, 2.2 fouls per game, 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. Averaged 18.4 minutes off the bench. (Excluding the July 11 game where he was 1-for-11 shooting and 1-for-7 behind the arc, Baron shot .333 from the field and from 3-point range.)

Javon McCrea (UB) — Dallas Mavericks

Games in Las Vegas

Friday, July 11 vs. New York Knicks — L 76-64, 2 points on his only shot in 4:31 of game time (box score).

Saturday, July 12 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves – W 93-85, 3 points on 1-of-3 shooting, 1-2 from the line, 1 rebound, 1 block, 1 steal, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls in 10:25 off the bench (box score).

Monday, July 14 vs. Toronto Raptors – W 88-57, 7 points on 2-of-5 shooting, 3-4 from the line, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers, 5 fouls in 16:41 off the bench (box score).

Playoffs

First round, Wednesday, July 16: 10-Mavericks vs. 23-Charlotte Hornets — L 82-81, 2 points on 1-of-2 shooting, 1 steals, 0 rebounds in 7:35 off the bench (box score).

Consolation round, Friday, July 18: Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns — W 88-62, 10 points on 5-of-5 shooting, 3 rebounds, 4 fouls in 18:40 off the bench (box score). Season over.

Final stats: 4.8 points per game, .625 field goal percentage, 1.4 rebounds per game, 0.8 assists per game, 0.6 turnovers per game, 2.8 fouls per game. Averaged 11.6 minutes off the bench.

Mitchell Watt (UB ’12) — Golden State Warriors

Games in Las Vegas

Friday, July 11 vs. Charlotte Hornets — W 70-58, 8 points on 4-of-6 shooting, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls in 20:46 off the bench (box score).

Saturday, July 12 vs. Phoenix Suns – W 74-72, 3 points on 1-of-4 shooting, 6 rebounds, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls in 20:31 off the bench (box score).

Monday, July 14 vs. Los Angeles Lakers – L 89-88, 11 points on 3-of-6 shooting, 5-8 from the line, 9 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 7 fouls in 22:02 off the bench (box score).

Playoffs

First round, Wednesday, July 16: 11-Warriors vs. 22-Atlanta Hawks — L 68-65, 2 points on 1-of-3 shooting, 3 rebounds, 4 turnovers, 6 fouls in 17:40 off the bench (box score).

Consolation round, Friday, July 18: Warriors vs. Milwaukee Bucks — L 79-74, 6 points on 3-of-6 shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 1 steal, 7 fouls in 19:58 off the bench (box score). Season over.

Final stats: 6.0 points per game, .480 field goal percentage, 5.6 rebounds per game, 1.4 blocks per game, 2.4 turnovers per game, 5.2 fouls per game. Averaged 20.2 minutes off the bench.

Jordan Heath (Canisius) — Detroit Pistons

Games in Orlando

Saturday, July 5 vs. Houston Rockets – W 95-89, did not play, coach’s decision

Sunday, July 6 vs. Memphis Grizzlies – W 85-82, did not play, coach’s decision

Tuesday, July 8 vs. Miami Heat – W 80-78, did not play, coach’s decision

Wednesday, July 9 vs. Boston Celtics — L 92-90, did not play, coach’s decision

Friday, July 11 vs. Orlando Magic (5th place game) — L 96-87, 6 points on 3-of-3 shooting, 3 rebounds, 3 fouls, 1 block in 16:10 of game time (box score).

[Note: this post originally overlooked Mitchell Watt, who graduated from UB in 2012. It has been corrected.]