McCallums, Detroit prevail father-son clash

DETROIT – Billy Baron read an article online last spring about Ray McCallum Jr., who, after passing up offers from UCLA, Florida and Arizona, was making a trip to the NCAA Tournament with his Detroit Titans and their coach, Ray Sr. Intrigued, Baron logged onto Facebook and sent McCallum a message looking for advice.

Billy Baron guarded by Ray McCallum.

Billy Baron guarded by Ray McCallum.

Baron transferred from Virginia to Rhode Island midway through his freshman year to try to accomplish the same thing with his father, Rams coach Jim Baron. When Jim was fired last March and hired a month later by Canisius, Billy had a choice: Go play for a school with national exposure in a power conference, or go down a step and play for a mid-major to stay with his dad. So he asked the player who would know best.


Detroit’s court is named after its former coach, Dick Vitale.

“I asked him what it was like to win a championship with his father and go to the NCAA Tournament,” Billy Baron said this week. “That’s what it’s all about. That’s the reason why I’m here [at Canisius], to go to the NCAA Tournament. Only reason.”

McCallum was sympathetic for Baron’s situation – and offered the encouragement he needed to hear.

“He was in a tough situation,” McCallum said of Baron. “I just told him that you can’t go wrong with your dad. That’s what I did, and he always has my best interests in him, and I felt like his father would have the same in him. I told him go wherever your heart says to go. I don’t think you can go wrong staying home and playing for your dad.”

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NFL Week 17 picks 2012

Win a meaningless game and lose a few draft picks? Sign the Bills up!

(Just put Tebow in!)

Jets (+3½) at Bills — Bills

Miami (+10) at New England — New England

Baltimore (+2½) at Cincinnati — Bengals

Cleveland (+6) at Pittsburgh — Cleveland

Houston at Indianapolis (+6½) — Colts*

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Are we there yet? Griffs’ ninth win has signs things are moving in right direction

griffsalcorntipBilly Baron stood with the ball near midcourt Thursday night at the Koessler Athletic Center as the final eight seconds ticked off Canisius’ 87-74 defeat of Alcorn State when something unusual happened.

For the first time in a long time, fans stood up before the final horn sounded the end of a Canisius basketball game and applauded their team.

They cheered for Isaac Sosa, who couldn’t have been smoother on his way to 21 points. They cheered for Billy Baron, the first true quarterbacking point guard the Griffs have had in recent memory, who controls the tempo of the entire game.

They cheered for a team that could coast to victory on a night when second-leading scorer Harold Washington, bothered by a heel injury, didn’t even have to attempt a shot in his 20 minutes of play. They cheered for a coach who used timeouts to switch his defense not out of desperation but for strategy – and for how magnificently it worked, moving Jim Baron two wins shy of 400 on his career. Continue reading

Runnin’ Rebels too much for Baron’s ‘Runnin’ Griffs’

Griffs’ third loss of season is second against ranked opponent

CCLogobigWhen Jim Baron moved into the Koessler Center this summer, he didn’t want his name put on the window outside his office like the coach before him had. Baron instead opted for a large Canisius logo with the words “RUNNIN’ GRIFFS” underneath, to symbolize the up-tempo style he planned on bringing to one of the country’s bottom teams.

Eleven games into his tenure, Baron’s Griffs are doing plenty of runnin’ — and scoring and winning. But Saturday night at UNLV, the No. 21 Runnin’ Rebels showed Canisius why they own that name, using Vegas-sized amounts of talent and athleticism to win 89-74 and improve to 11-1.

Billy Baron scored a career-high 30 points and Harold Washington had 17 for the Griffs, who fell to 8-3 with the loss. UNLV had five players in double figures, led by 21 points from freshman sensation Anthony Bennett and 20 from Khem Birch, who added six blocks in just his third game this season.

Canisius hung with UNLV as long as it could, closing the gap to as few as three points at 57-54 with just under 13 minutes to go. But that push would prove to be the last in the Griffs’ arsenal, as UNLV responded with a 21-6 run over the next seven minutes that put the game out of reach.

UNLV shot 59.6 percent (34 of 57) on the night and outrebounded Canisius 33-25, but the largest statistical difference — and showing of how the teams matched up — was in blocked shots: UNLV blocked 13, Canisius blocked none.

Jordan Heath played 32 minutes off the bench in his return from an ankle injury that kept him out two games. Nine of his 11 points came from three-point range, where the 6-foot-10 center had a field day Saturday, attempting 10 three-pointers — more than any other teammate and as many as Washington and Isaac Sosa combined; both of whom shoot better than 43 percent from behind the arc.

The Griffs now have a short break for Christmas and return to the court Thursday at home against Alcorn State (2-11).


–Two of Canisius’ three losses this season came against ranked teams.

–Three days after losing to Canisius by 10, Temple handed No. 3 Syracuse its first loss, 83-79. “And the reality is: I don’t know if we would have won today had we not lost on Wednesday (vs. Canisius), to be quite frank,” Temple coach Fran Dunphy said.

–Mike Moser missed his fourth consecutive game for UNLV with an elbow injury. He had 19 points in last year’s meeting, a dominating, 95-70 win for the Runnin’ Rebels.

–UNLV’s broadcast team enjoyed comparing Billy Baron to Jimmer Fredette.

–Look for this game on SportsCenter later. UNLV guys had a handful of monster dunks.

Follow on Twitter: @NickVeronica