Postgame video: Canisius 63, Quinnipiac 57

By Nick Veronica

[Valenti injury update + Immediate reactions]

Canisius coach Jim Baron


Baron spoke on losing Valenti and the players who stepped up in his absence, but made sure to pump the brakes before doling out any compliments.

“We’ll see,” Baron said (2:30). “[Kassius] did a great job. I mean, you know, these guys are young kids. We want them to carry it over. So let’s not make it one-and-done, you know? But he did a great job.”

On Valenti, Baron said: “Our prayers are with him and his family. It was a tough one, that was a tough one. He plays so hard, he gives it everything he has, and he goes down. That was a tough one for us. Our prayers are with him. I thought that the guys really rallied for him. They really rallied for him. They stepped up.”

However, the most important note from Baron’s press conference was that he loves the ‘fear the stache’ shirts the team gave out prior to the game.

fearthestachejimbaron

Canisius gave out ‘fear the stache’ shirts to students before Friday’s game. Jim Baron loved the shirts. (Giraffe suit sold separately.)

“I’ll tell you what,” Baron said, “they made me look good on that T-shirt. They had me with a stache, and hair. I love stuff like that. I love to promote. I’ll do anything I can to help promote this program. They came up with that idea. At Rhode Island, we had a bobblehead. You know, how many guys have a bobblehead? And the bobblehead had a bank in it so you could put coins in the top of the head, it was really neat. I think it’s terrific. Any time we can promote the program… I’ll stand at the top of the building if they want me to. I think it’s all good. I’m happy they came up with that idea.”

(I think we found Canisius’ next promotion.)

Canisius players Kassius Robertson, Jermaine Crumpton, Jan Grzelinski


Quinnipiac did not meet with the media Friday night.

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Immediate reactions: Canisius 63, Quinnipiac 57

[Valenti injury update + Postgame video]

Quinnipiac 25 32 — 57
Canisius 33 30 — 63

By Nick Veronica

How it happened: Canisius led by five points early in the second half when forward Phil Valenti went down with a gruesome ankle injury. The pace of the game slowed significantly after he was wheeled off the court, but overall the team responded well and gritted out a 63-57 victory.

Phil Valenti was in serious pain after injuring his ankle during Friday's game.

Phil Valenti was in serious pain after injuring his ankle during Friday’s game.

Kassius Roberston stepped up with Valenti out and scored a career-high 16 points while Zach Lewis added 12 and Jermaine Crumpton had nine. Canisius had only five turnovers.

The Griffs’ defense was effective, holding Quinnipiac to 33.3 percent shooting — including 13.3 percent on 3-pointers (2-for-15) — blocking three shots at opportune times and coming up with seven steals. QU’s big man Ousmane Drame had an off day but still led all players with 20 points while Zaid Hearst had 19 points (one under his 20.1 average) but took 24 field goals.

Canisius pulled ahead in the first half with a 9-0 run out of the under-12 media timeout that put it up 22-13, giving it the cushion it held the rest of the way.

It was over when: Josiah Heath followed a slam dunk with the most empathic blocked shot of his career, slamming Kasim Chandler’s shot against the backboard with 45 seconds left.

What it means: It was another scrappy conference win for Jim Baron’s “Junkyard Griffs,” who are now 12-8 overall and 7-4 in the MAAC. Valenti will certainly be missed, but the Griffs’ strength this year has been team defense and their ability to play multiple roles. Baron has made good use of his bench so far but the team’s depth will certainly be put to the test now. Baron has already told Cassidy Ryan to be ready for a bigger role.

Canisius has now beat four of the top five teams in the MAAC Preseason Poll: 1) Iona, 2) Siena, 4) Saint Peter’s and 5) Quinnipiac. With the loss, Quinnipiac is now 11-9, 5-6.

Valenti down: Two sources told IAGS that Valenti’s injury was a dislocated ankle. The medical team was able to pop it back in place and was optimistic that nothing was broken. Valenti was at the hospital for X-rays when the game ended. (Update: no broken bones, the team said. More info in that link.)

Glass battle: Quinnipiac leads the country in rebounding average (44.8) and rebounding margin (13.0). Canisius kept it close Friday, grabbing only one fewer rebound in the first half (21-20) and eight fewer overall, 48-40 (Canisius’ season high is 42).

Ousmane Drame, who entered the weekend ninth nationally at 10.9 rebounds per game, pulled in 11 Friday but was not as effective as his numbers showed. Eight of his 20 points came from the free-throw line and he was just 6-of-14 from the field. His presence on the glass was felt, but he certainly was not the defensive monster who terrorized Canisius last season.

Vegas line: Vegas Insider had Canisius -5 and over/under 127 before tip. Canisius covered, total was 120.

Fear the stache: Canisius gave out some mean ‘fear the stache’ T-shirts to students before the game. A+.

Next: Canisius is back on its home court Sunday, Feb. 1, for a 2 p.m. game against Marist.

Canisius’ Valenti injured vs. Quinnipiac

By Nick Veronica

Canisius forward Phil Valenti suffered an apparent serious ankle injury in the second half of Friday’s game against Quinnipiac at the Koessler Athletic Center.

Valenti came down awkwardly after going up for an offensive rebound and was in immediate serious pain. His right ankle was put in an air cast and he was taken off the court in a wheelchair.

UPDATE: Two sources told IAGS that Valenti’s injury was a dislocated ankle. Trainers were able to pop it back in place. They’re hoping nothing is broken but are at the hospital for X-rays now. (8:37 p.m.)

UPDATE III: X-rays on Valenti’s ankle were negative, the team announced Friday night, calling the injury a “right ankle joint injury.” Valenti will be released from the hospital later Friday night/early Saturday morning. (11:21 p.m.)

UPDATE IV: Valenti will be evaluated Sunday by Dr. Keith Stube, an orthopedic surgeon who is Canisius’ team physician and is in Canisius’ athletic Hall of Fame. Sources called Valenti’s injury a dislocated ankle, which would indicate a possible injury to one or more ligaments in the ankle/foot area. (12:30 p.m. Saturday)

Canisius led 35-30 with 17:21 remaining when Valenti left the game. (Update II: Canisius held on for a 63-57 win.)

Valenti, a redshirt sophomore from Rochester’s Aquinas Institute, was Canisius’ second-leading scorer at 10.8 points per game and added 5.1 rebounds per game.

An update will be posted when it is available.

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.