By Nick Veronica
Canisius struggled in all phases of the game Saturday in a 75-58 road loss to UMass, falling to 4-4 on the year.
The Griffs trailed by 25 points at halftime, 46-21, and as many as 27 in the game while allowing the Minutemen to shoot 50 percent from the floor (25 for 50). Canisius was outrebounded 38-28 and committed 24 fouls, which matches a season-high.
Zach Lewis led the Griffs with 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting, which will actually help his season shooting percentage. Josiah Heath scored 10 and added four rebounds, three steals and two assists. Phil Valenti had six points and five assists before fouling out.
UMass senior forward Maxie Esho had 20 points and nine rebounds — both game highs — while playing just 26 minutes. Center Cady Lalanne added 16 points and eight boards for the Minutemen, who have also beaten MAAC foes Manhattan and Siena.
UMass (6-4) was a six-seed in last year’s NCAA tournament and was the highlight of Canisius’ nonconference schedule.
The loss was the 400th of Jim Baron’s career. He is 434-400 all-time.
Point guard watch: Freshman Jan Grzelinski started at point guard, as expected after Jim Baron’s Niagara press conference, and scored three points on 1-of-4 shooting, dished out three assists and had two turnovers in 25 minutes. Jeremiah Williams had eight points on 3-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 from three-point range, and added an assist, a rebound, a block and a turnover in 15 minutes off the bench.
Starters: Canisius – Jan Grzelinski, Zach Lewis, Jamal Reynolds, Phil Valenti, Josiah Heath. UMass – Trey Davis, Jabarie Hinds, Derrick Gordon, Maxie Esho, Cady Lalanne.
Next: Canisius hosts Stony Brook at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 18.