Throughout his junior season guard Alshwan Hymes was a go-to-guy in the Canisius offense. He played more than 35 minutes a game, averaged 15.4 points and had clearance to let fly from behind the arc whenever he felt he could get his shot off.
Circumstances changed during the offseason, and not unexpectedly. The addition of transfer Isaac Sosa, another perimeter shooter, meant that minutes were up for grabs. The addition of Sosa, Billy Baron and Jordan Heath meant Canisius would have other scoring options. Hymes’ playing times and his points were bound to diminish — for the betterment of the team.
It didn’t go smoothly. Canisius officials confirmed Monday that Hymes remains on indefinite suspension. The senior from Syracuse has been away from the team since an argument with an assistant coach before the Jan. 5 home game against Marist.
This was not the first time Hymes’s actions have resulted in discipline. He was benched for the first half of the Dec. 15 game in his hometown Syracuse for a violation of team rules (missing bed check).
Hymes averaged 17.4 minutes and 6.3 points before his suspension. He is 79 points shy of 1,000 career.
Mason tops all
BN Big 4 Player of the Week: Antoine Mason did it all in Niagara’s weekend road sweep of Saint Peter’s and Fairfield. The redshirt sophomore guard from Queens made 10 of 18 field-goal attempts in scoring 26 points and grabbing seven rebounds against the Peacocks. He compensated for a sub-par shooting night against Fairfield by going 12 of 12 from the line and finishing with 17 points. His two free throws with less than two seconds remaining sewed up the win over Fairfield. Mason’s shooting 80.2 percent from the foul line. He was at 64.8 percent last season.
Siena hits town this week having won two straight following an 11-game losing streak that ended with Friday night’s stunning 57-54 come-from-behind victory over Canisius.
One of the Saints’ big problems this season? Free throws. They rank 332nd in the country at 62.2 percent, and that’s after making 27 of 36 (75 percent) against Saint Peter’s.
The biggest offender had been senior forward O.D. Anosike, who is still below 50 percent from the stripe despite going a combined 19 of 27 against Canisius and Saint Peter’s.
“It’s not mechanics, it’s not this and that, it’s just simply confidence,” Anosike said in an Albany Times-Union report. “I’m just stepping on the line and shooting with confidence. When I look at the bench and see Coach has confidence in me, I feel like I’m going to make the shot.”
Anosike has 11 double-doubles this year and is tied for the national lead in rebounds at 11.9 a game. But free-throw shooting has been his career-long Achilles heel. He made 37 percent as a freshman, 45 percent as a sophomore and 56.1 percent as a junior. The weekend surge lifted him to 49.2 percent this season.
The status of point guard Dee Davis (left wrist sprain) remains in question as Xavier prepares for Wednesday’s visit to the Reilly Center and a 8 p.m. television game with the Bonnies. Davis was hurt in the conference opener against Temple and sat out the last game, against George Washington.
The Musketeers persevered thanks to the play of freshman guard and Cincinnati native Semaj Christon, who has been named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week. Christon netted 16 against Temple, 21 against GW and leads Xavier in scoring at 14.1 a game.
Derek Needham, Fairfield’s ace shooting guard, scored just 10 points with three turnovers and sat out seven second-half minutes with fouls not a factor. The Stags rallied from seven down into a temporary lead with Needham out.
“There was no message,” Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson said after the game. “Shoot, he’s the heart and soul of our team. I didn’t think he was in a good flow, so I decided to try a couple other guys.”
Niagara freshman forward T.J. Cline has been coming on. He hit double figures in points for the first time since Dec. 8 with Sunday’s 12 at Fairfield and went for double figures in rebounds (10) two nights earlier at Saint Peter’s. … Junior forward Cameron Downing played a major role as UB rallied from 21 down against Miami on Saturday only to lose at the end. Downing struck for 14 points and four rebounds in 16 minutes and is shooting 70.5 percent from the floor. But he can’t take on a more significant role unless he stays out of foul trouble. He’s had three or more in eight straight games and played more than 11 minutes just twice in that stretch. … Kent State’s victory over Ball State was a near mirror image of the UB-Miami game. The Golden Flashes saw an 18-point second-half lead cut to one before securing the victory. Kent’s two prominent seniors, Randal Holt and Chris Evans, both came off the bench that game. … Is there a player in the country with a bigger home-road gap than Niagara’s Juan’ya Green against Fairfield? Green’s averaged 33 points in two home games against the Stags and 7.5 in two road games.
Canisius (10-7, 3-3): Thursday vs. Manhattan (5-11, 3-3), 7 p.m.; Saturday vs. Siena (4-13, 2-4), 2 p.m.
Niagara (9-8, 5-1): Thursday vs. Siena (4-13, 2-4) 7 p.m.; Saturday vs. Manhattan (5-11, 3-3), 3 p.m.
UB (5-11, 0-2): Wednesday vs. Kent State (10-6, 1-1), 7 p.m.; Saturday vs. Bowling Green (6-9, 1-1) 7 p.m.
St. Bonaventure (7-8, 0-2): Wednesday vs Xavier (9-6, 2-0) 8 p.m.; Saturday at Temple (11-4, 1-1) 1 p.m.