Immediate reactions: Canisius 87, Dartmouth 72 (CIT first round)

Dartmouth 26 46 — 72
Canisius 38 49 — 87

By Nick Veronica

What it means: With the victory, Canisius advanced to the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. The Griffs will go on the road for the next round, facing Bowling Green at 1 p.m. Saturday. Canisius could possibly host another game if it advances further; bracket play begins in the third round.

Canisius is now 3-2 in postseason play in the last three years under Jim Baron (all in the CIT).

How it happened: Jamal Reynolds scored a career-high 22 points and Zach Lewis had 20, marking the first time all year two Griffs scored 20 points or more (it last happened in the 111-100 CIT loss to VMI a year ago). Wednesday was also the first time this year five Griffs scored in double figures, with Josiah Heath scoring 14, Kassius Robertson scoring 13 and Jeremiah Williams adding 10.

Lewis played one of his best games of the season Wednesday, scoring his 20 points on 7 of 13 field goals (53.8%) and 4 of 7 three-pointers (57.1%), both of which were his highest percentages of the season.

The game was tied 23-23 at the final media timeout of the first half before Canisius closed the half on a 15-3 run to lead 38-26 at the break. Canisius opened a 54-33 lead early in the second half before an 11-0 Dartmouth run helped cut the lead to 10 points with about 12 minutes to go. The Big Green hung around and got the deficit to single digits in the final minute but were never within striking distance.

[Tournament loss shouldn’t overshadow Griffs’ progress]

30-second shot clock: The NIT, CIT and CBI are all testing 30-second shot clocks, down from the usual 35 seconds. The Griffs are in favor of the change, though Dartmouth had a much easier time with the shorter timespan Wednesday. By my count, Canisius committed three shot clock violations and forced up four desperation shots while Dartmouth was only called for a shot clock violation once. The faster pace of the game did help Canisius score a season-high 83 points.

Heath, Bleeker banged up: Josiah Heath started the game wearing a face mask to protect a broken nose. I’m told he sustained the injury in the MAAC Tournament loss to Monmouth when Kevin Bleeker took a charge and fell back into him, and then he re-injured the nose in practice this week when Reynolds bumped into him. Heath wore the mask for about 10 minutes before deciding to play without it.

Bleeker hurt his left ankle Wednesday, landing funny in the first half but having to limp off in the second half. He would return to action but was obviously in pain and sat out once the lead was safe.

Long time no see: Wednesday’s game ended Dartmouth’s 56-year postseason drought. The Big Green’s last postseason appearance was the 1959 NCAA Tournament. Dartmouth ended the year 14-15.

Gurley out: Isaiah Gurley was not on the bench Wednesday because he returned home due to a death in the family. Gurley will be a redshirt freshman next season.

[RELATED: Obama picks UB to upset WVU]

Random fact: In 857 games as a head coach, Wednesday was Jim Baron’s first game against Dartmouth.

Vegas line: At tip, Vegas Insder has Canisius -3, over/under 131.5. Canisius covered, total was 159.

Next: Canisius goes to Bowling Green for a 1 p.m. Saturday game.

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