Former Canisius guard Harold Washington says he has signed a professional contract to play with the club CSM Constantine in Algeria.
After an 0-fer night Thursday, Isaac Sosa rebounded with five three-pointers to lead Canisius past Marist, 73-64, Saturday in the Koessler Athletic Center to break the Griffs’ first losing streak under Jim Baron.
The win, Baron’s 399th as a Division I coach, kept Canisius on par with Niagara atop the MAAC standings and doubled its win total from last season.
“I was just ready,” Sosa said. “To be honest, I didn’t worry about [last game]. It’s not like any of us had a good game; we really struggled on Thursday. I was just being myself, being aggressive and letting my shots fly.”
Sosa led the Griffs with 22 points and jump-started the offense in the second half with four three-pointers in a two-minute stretch. Billy Baron had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Chris Manhertz nearly matched the feat, collecting 14 rebounds and adding nine points. Canisius never trailed in the game.
Thursday night was an opportunity for Canisius. Having already beat MAAC power Fairfield once this season, the Griffs had a chance to go for the series sweep in just the third conference game of the year.
Anybody can get lucky once. The sign of winners in every sport is that they can duplicate their success.
Canisius didn’t come close to winning Thursday night. The 66-45 loss was the first truly disappointing performance of the Jim Baron era.
It took the Griffs more than five minutes to score a point, opening the game on wrong side of an 11-0 run. They played one minute of inspired basketball, cutting the deficit to 11-7 with 14 minutes left in the first half, but that was as close as it got. Fairfield followed with a 9-0 run and led by double-digits the rest of the way.
“We dug ourselves a hole we couldn’t get out of,” Jim Baron said, car keys in hand. “I told our guys we’re going to have to match the intensity and we fell short of that.”
No matter what combination of players Baron used, it was the Griffs, not the Stags, who looked lost in the headlights. They looked miserably out of sync on offense and couldn’t get a shot to fall when they finally got open.
Billy 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
Griffs’ third loss of season is second against ranked opponent
When 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.
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