BUFFALO, N.Y. — Steve Hawkins had a plan. Throw multiple defenders at Tyler Ennis and try to fluster him with a bunch of different looks.But it didn’t matter what the Western Michigan coach did or whom he had guarding Ennis. The freshman point guard wasn’t to be denied in his first NCAA Tournament game. Ennis finished with 16 points and six assists in 36 minutes, slicing through the WMU (23-10, 14-4 Mid-American Conference) defense with ease in Syracuse’s (27-5, 14-4 Atlantic Coast) 77-53 win on Thursday.Ennis showcased a smooth mid-range jumper. When the Bronco defense played off him, he nailed shots and looked comfortable pulling up off the dribble. “He’s being more aggressive,” SU assistant coach Gerry McNamara said. “It’s good for our offense. Anytime he has open shots he needs to shoot them because he’s more than capable of making it.”At times this year, Ennis has deferred and served as a pass-first point guard. That works well for Syracuse, but the Orange is even more lethal when he’s draining jump shots. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEnnis said he hasn’t changed his approach at all. He’s playing the same style he has all season. When a shot’s there, he’ll take it. “I’m just getting open shots and I’m just taking them,” Ennis said. “I don’t think there’s more of a focus for me.”In the first half, he dribbled toward the corner and found himself wide open. Instead of looking for a slashing Jerami Grant or C.J. Fair — which has worked perfectly fine this season — Ennis drilled a baseline jumper. Later on, he curled off a Rakeem Christmas screen and nailed another mid-range jumper. Ennis didn’t just help SU with his jump shot, though. In the first half, he penetrated and spun his body toward the basket. The ball swirled around the rim before eventually falling. Every time he shot, Ennis looked smooth, as he was able to help the Orange blow by the Broncos.“It’s great for us,” Grant said. “Just like Trevor, it opens up the court. When they’re hitting shots we definitely need that.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 20, 2014 at 9:27 pm Contact Trevor: [email protected] | @TrevorHass
The Nelson Leafs continue to limp toward the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League post season.Nelson, looking more like a MASH unit than a hockey team, dropped its second straight game — five of the last eight — falling 2-1 to visiting Spokane Braves Friday night at the NDCC Arena.This is the same Spokane squad Nelson pummelled 7-2 Sunday in Nelson.With only 13 skaters on the game sheet, including 15-year-old Reece Tambellini, the Leafs struggled to find any offence against the Braves.Spokane found all the offence it would need during a two-minute span in the second period when Paxton Malone and Troy Pichette scored past Josh Williams in the Nelson nets. Kolten Nelson, scoring his fourth goal in three games, potted the only goal in the third period for Nelson.Spokane out shot the Leafs in every period, finishing the contest with a 38-21 advantage.Nelson, missing defencemen Dash Thompson, Brendan Smith and Aigne McGeady-Bruce along with forwards Eamonn Miller and Blair Andrews from the lineup concludes the regular season Sunday in Grand Forks.The Border Bruins tuned up for what promises to be a great series against Castlegar, battled the Rebels at home before losing 5-4 in overtime.Nick Headrick scored the winner in the first overtime period.The loss comes three days after Grand Forks defeated Castlegar in overtime by the same 5-4 score.For the Leafs, dropping to 20-29-0-0-2 on the season, it’s a day off to rest before opening the KIJHL Murdoch Division semi final playoff round Tuesday in Beaver Valley against the high-powered Nitehawks.Game two is Wednesday, also in Fruitvale before the series shifts to the NDCC Arena for Games three and four, Friday and Saturday.If necessary, Game five is Monday, February 29th in Beaver Valley.