Immediate reactions: Canisius 78, Marist 65

[Live blog + Postgame interviews + Bower on Baron’s NBA odds]

By Nick Veronica

How it happened: Billy Baron dropped 25 points in the first half and matched his career high with 38 as he powered the Griffs back from an early deficit. Marist went on an 11-0 run early in the game and led 11-2, but from there it was all Canisius. At halftime, Baron outscored Marist 25-24.

Chris Manhertz almost had back-to-back double-doubles, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds and Chris Perez had 14 points. Chavaughn Lewis jump started Marist early but couldn’t keep pace with Baron. He finished with 18 points, Khallid Hart had 17 and Jay Bowie had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Canisius goes to 14-7, 8-2 MAAC. Marist 6-14, 3-7.

What it means: That Billy Baron guy is pretty good. He was the only Canisius player to score for the first 9 minutes and carried the team through a lull as Marist jumped out to an early lead. It looked like one of those games Canisius would have to claw back into, but Baron just kept on scoring. Zach Lewis struggled early but kept shooting until he found his rhythm, finishing with 10 points. Canisius and Iona now have first place in the MAAC to themselves at 8-2 with Quinnipiac knocking off Manhattan in overtime today. No rest for the Griffs, who travel to Quinnipiac on Thursday.

Billy being Billy: His 25 first-half points had TV crews flying into the KAC to get some footage and had Twitter abuzz. Baron led a 13-0 run in the final 1:41 of the first half that gave Canisius a 14-point halftime lead, and he hit one three-pointer right over Chavaughn Lewis that left Marist’s best player in disbelief.

His 38 points matched his career high and were the most he’s ever scored in regulation. His previous 38-point outing against Rider on Jan. 10 came in double overtime. To top it off, a scout from the San Antonio Spurs was in attendance.

Canisius scoring highs: A question came in from Twitter at halftime asking what is the most points a Canisius player ever scored in a game. That would be 55 by Larry Fogle vs. Saint Peter’s on Feb. 9, 1974. The last player to score 40 in a game was Ron Peaks, who scored 40 against Saint Peter’s on Dec. 9, 1978.

Manhertz follows up strong: Chris Manhertz followed up a superb outing against Niagara with 13 points and 9 rebounds today, nearly notching back-to-back double-doubles. Manhertz was 7 of 8 from the free-throw line and had one of his best sequences of the season late in the first half. It began when he came out above the arc and set a nice screen to set up a Baron’s three-pointer that opened the late run, and then on defense he drew a charge. Coming back up the court, he got the ball inside and got a layup and foul, which put the Griffs up 31-24.

MAAC outlook:


Noteworthy: Baron’s scoring average rises from 23.5 to 24.2, good for third nationally. Creighton’s Doug McDermott is at 24.3. He was also honored before the game for scoring his 1,000th point as a Griffs, which he did in just 52 games, fifth fastest in Canisius history.