Postgame interviews: Daemen 83, Canisius 81 (OT)

[Gameday + Immediate reactions]

By Nick Veronica

Interviews from the Griffs’ exhibition loss to Daemen…

Canisius coach Jim Baron

Baron owned up to this one more than usual.

“It’s not as much about the opponent as it is about yourself. We gotta get better,” Baron said. “We threw the ball away, we made some… we did a lot. Defensively, we got to do a much better job of guarding people, jumping to the ball. Now we’re in it (the regular season). It’s gonna be growing pains for us, I think.

“You can’t turn it over 20 times,” he added. “You can’t. Not against any team. Guys gotta step up and they gotta grow up quick. We got a young team. We got inexperience. We knew that. It’s gonna be a challenge. No excuses, it’s fact. It’s fact.”

Daemen coach Mike MacDonald

MacDonald was an assistant at Canisius from 1989-97 and the head coach from 1998-2006. He was fired 8 1/2 years ago.

“It really wasn’t about me,” MacDonald said repeatedly when asked how special it was to beat his former school.

“[My players] should enjoy it. They worked very hard, they played a very good game, they played together, they battled. The beginning of that game, what’d he have, eight turnovers in nine possessions or something like that? I wanted to crawl under the bench and hide. It was embarrassing. But we battled and hung in there.”

MacDonald said he thinks forward Gerald Beverly would be successful at Division I. I think he’d start for Canisius. Scouts from the Cavs, Blazers and Spurs have been watching him. He originally didn’t make his freshman team in high school! MacDonald told an interesting story about Beverly: He was really Daemen’s second choice during recruiting. The guy they really wanted? Josiah Heath. (Question starts at 3:24)

By my count, MacDonald is now 4-1 against Baron. MacDonald’s Canisius teams beat Baron’s St. Bonaventure squads in 1997-98, 1998-99 and 2000-01, with Baron winning in 1999-00.

Canisius guard Zach Lewis

“We just got to stay together,” Lewis said. “We expect lumps in the road with so many young guys. You gotta expect it. We just tell [the new guys], trust Coach.”

I asked him if the last shot was his to take.

“Definitely,” he said. “Everyone in the gym knew I was gonna take that shot.”