Canisius rolls Fairfield; Bona wins in OT

By Nick Veronica

CCLogobigPhil Valenti scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Canisius to a 64-50 win over Fairfield on Thursday, giving the Griffs their third straight conference win.

Canisius shot 48.1 percent from the field and led nearly the entire game while improving to 11-7 overall and 6-3 in the MAAC. Fairfield fell to 6-13, 4-5.

Canisius has a chance to sweep its second consecutive conference weekend on Saturday with a 7 p.m. game at Rider (12-8, 6-3).

Josiah Heath and Kassius Robertson added 11 points each for Canisius while Jamal Reynolds scored 10 and had eight rebounds. Marcus Gilbert led Fairfield with a game-high 18 points but was the only Stag in double-figures.

Zach Lewis, still marred in a season-long shooting slump, was 0-for-6 from the field and didn’t record a point until hitting a free throw with 45 seconds to play, although he did have five assists.

Canisius had 15 assists on 25 field goals.

“We can really pass the ball,” coach Jim Baron said during the postgame television interview. “It’s a very unselfish bunch of guys.

“We’re like junkyard dogs,” he added. “We call it ‘streetball.’ ”

Heath came out of the game after tweaking his left ankle with four minutes to go but the injury did not appear to be serious.

Bonnies come back for OT win

BonnieslogoMarcus Posley scored 36 points as St. Bonaventure rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to beat Duquesne, 100-97, in overtime Thursday night in Pittsburgh.

Posley hit a 3-pointer with six seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Jaylen Adams scored the go-ahead basket for the Bonnies in the final minute of overtime and followed it with two free throws that helped put the game away.

St. Bonaventure improved to 11-6 overall and 4-2 in the Atlantic 10 while Duquesne fell to 6-11, 1-5.

Youssou Ndoye had a double-double with 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Bonnies.

Six Dukes scored in double figures, led by 18 from Micah Mason and 17 from Derrick Colter.

St. Bonaventure travels to Rhode Island for a 2 p.m. Sunday contest.

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VIDEO: Hoop crashes before Canisius-Siena

By Nick Veronica

The hoop Siena players were warming up on at the Koessler Athletic Center crashed to the floor and shattered prior to Friday night’s game against Canisius.

UPDATE: Here’s a low-quality video of the hoop coming down.

(Sorry the video is vertical, had to take it sneakily.)-

No one was injured as a result of the crash, which happened at about 6:15 p.m. The hoop appeared come loose after a dunk by Willem Brandwijk before it buckled and fell while players were shooting on it. The backboard shattered when it hit the floor, not from the dunk.

UPDATE 2: The game will game at approximately 8 p.m., we’re told.

UPDATE 3: Siena posted a little better-quality video:

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UPDATE 4:
Canisius won handily, 83-49.

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Postgame video: Manhattan 63, Canisius 60

By Nick Veronica

Canisius coach Jim Baron

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Jim Baron was not happy with his team after the game. They’re too passive to shoot, he said. They got spooked by Manhattan’s defense. They need to get better. His whole presser is worth listening to.

The game was there for the taking. Jeremiah Williams missed two free-throws in the last minute after being hand-picked to shoot them following a technical foul (he shoots 88.9 percent on the year). Then he missed a layup, Phil Valenti missed a layup and Zach Lewis missed a three-pointer. The Griffs lost by three.

Canisius players Zach Lewis and Jermaine Crumpton

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“This weekend, I think both games could’ve went either way,” Lewis said. “Being a young team, it’s good to have those type of games right now and keep building on it and learn in film tomorrow and the next day, how we can get better in those situations? When there’s four minutes left in the game, how do we close out those games?”

Crumpton, one of the more willing shooters, had a career-high 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting.

Manhattan coach Steve Masiello and Shane Richards

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Take that 15-footer, huh? More on Masiello’s interesting answer here.

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Steve Masiello dares you to shoot from the free-throw line

By Nick Veronica

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Canisius got several open looks from the free-throw line in Sunday’s 63-60 loss to Manhattan. Jermaine Crumpton and others hit some of those shots, and sometimes they missed.

Manhattan did not seem overly concerned with adjusting its defense to take that shot away. That’s because Steve Masiello is a smart coach. He has run the percentages and he does not care.

If you want to pull up from the free-throw line against Manhattan, go for it. He calls it fool’s gold.

“We’ve charted over 600 games,” Masiello said. “The 15-foot shot, challenged late, is a 26-percent shot. It appears at times, when teams make two or three in a row, you actually think they’re hurting your zone. But it actually plays into your hands. That’s one of the reasons they shot 39 percent for the game.

“This goes back to when I was at Louisville,” Masiello continued. “We take it away, we take the high post away with the opposite guard, once it goes in we fan out and go man and match up. Most of the time you’ll see a four-five (a forward) in that spot.

“Give Canisius credit, they made some shots in that spot like you said early there, but that shot will not beat you. I’ve seen it beat a team once — unfortunately it was to go to the Final Foul, it was Michigan State against us in the Elite Eight — but that shot will not beat you. The percentages are just astronomical. It’s what we call fool’s gold. I’m not going to tell you how to beat the zone, but we’re OK with that.”

So, yeah. Steve Masiello is smarter than you. Go ahead and take that shot. He dares you.