Postgame interviews: Canisius 90, Fairfield 78 (Senior Day)

[Live blog + Postgame reactions]

By Nick Veronica

Canisius coach Jim Baron was more emotional than usual in his press conference Saturday as he discussed Senior Day and sending off a son for the second time. He talked about separating duties of dad and coach (“It’s tough love, it’s unconditional trust”) and called himself a “proud father.”

Billy Baron finished his final home game with 22 points and 9 assists in 37 minutes. In the player press conference, Chris Perez thought it was hilarious that Jim got so emotional. Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson talked about the skirmish that changed the course of the game in his press conference.

Canisius coach Jim Baron

Jim Baron: “It’s a very emotional day. … It seems like these two years went really, really quickly.”

Jim Baron on seeing Congressman Brian Higgins at dinner Friday night:

“We saw Senator Higgins last night. One thing that he said, one thing that made me a proud father is he said, ‘Billy, I want to congratulate you. You’ve got tremendous humility.’ I’ve never heard… I mean, what a compliment.”

“To get prominent people like a senator to say that, to me, as a father, that’s one of the greatest compliments in the world. I treasure that. When you hear people say that about your kids is very, very special.”

(I should note that Higgins is technically not a senator but a member of the House of Representatives.)

Canisius players Chris Perez, Jordan Heath and Billy Baron

Fairfield coach Sydney Johnson


Canisius vs. Fairfield live blog 2/22/14

[Immediate reactions + Postgame interviews]

By Nick Veronica

FINAL: Canisius 90, Fairfield 78. 

1:56: Refs back at the monitor, looking at an out-of-bounds call. It’s reversed, ball to Canisius.

2:10: Griffs beat the press, all comes down to foul shooting now. Baron starts with two makes. Griffs 86-76.

2:17: Phil Valenti fouls out, 11 pts, 2 rebs in 16 minutes.

2:50: Baron draws a block on Marcus Gilbert, he fouls out with a game-high 26 pts.

2:58: Canisius up 82-72 at the U8. Sidibe got a rebound under the Fairfield hoop but was on the baseline. Griffs get the ball.

3:47: Lewis hits a 3 and Canisius is back up 10, 82-72. He has 19, Baron has 18.

4:06: Jordan Heath fouls out. 11 points, 2 rebounds in 21 minutes.

4:23: Fairfield’s Marcus Gilbert, who leads the game with 26 pts, picks up his fourth foul with 4:23 to go.

4:52: Bit of a lull here, lots of free throws. each way. 79-71 Griffs.

6:51: Chris Manhertz looks like he aggravated his hip or tailbone. He’s hurting in the front and back today.

7:25: Maurice Barrow picks up his fourth foul. Jordan Heath gets the layup but not the free throw. 77-71.

8:00: Stags have it back down to 4, 75-71.

9:46: Zach Lewis fakes his man up, goes under him and hits an open 3. 75-65.

10:19: Baron goes behind the back to Valenti, who hits a 3. 72-63 Griffs, biggest lead for them so far.

11:38: Baron gets a steal, throws a rocket, two-handed bounce pass to Perez, who gets a layup and one. Crowd love it. Griffs up 67-60 with a FT coming.

12:38: Jordan Heath hits from the line and its 62-57 Griffs, their largest lead of the day.

13:07: Billy Baron hits two FTs and Canisius is up three.

13:31: Manhertz gives to Jordan Heath, who puts Canisius up 56-55.

14:22: Total time lost due to incident: 19 minutes. Again, refs are Guy Pagano, Doug Aprahamian and Kevin Ferguson.

14:22: Amadou Sidibe is livid with Jordan Heath and starts a shoving match. Both coaches run onto the floor to grab their guys. Refs at monitor. … Jordan Heath was called for an offensive foul and accidentally kicked someone in the head when he tried to step over the guy and Sidibe took offense to that. The first shove might have been warranted, but he took it further. Couldn’t tell who Heath fouled initially. … First monitor wasn’t good enough for the refs, apparently, as they’ve come over to the Canisius broadcast and asked to see their feed. Never seen this before. (Griffs are down 51-47, by the way.)

15:19: Marcus Gilbert gets a three and is fouled by Valenti. He completes the four-point play. 51-47 Stags.

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Canisius vs. Fairfield gameday 2/22/14

By Nick Veronica

Canisius vs. Fairfield, 2 p.m., Koessler Athletic Center

Canisius: 18-10, 12-5 MAAC, 8-3 home. RPI: 101. Streak: Lost one, three of five.

Fairfield Stags: 6-22, 3-14 MAAC, 2-11 road. RPI: 288. Streak: Won one.

What’s at stake: Canisius dropped to fourth place in the conference standings with Thursday’s loss to Quinnipiac but can get back into a tie for third with a win today. That opportunity comes thanks to Siena, which upset Manhattan Friday night in Albany, 67-63.

Finishing third in the conference is greatly preferred to finishing fourth because of MAAC Tournament pairings – the top three seeds open the tournament against a team that had to win play-in game the night before, while the fourth- and fifth-place teams open against each other.

Home finale: Saturday’s game also marks the final home game of the season, aka the last chance for people in Buffalo to see Billy Baron play (unless Canisius hosts a Tournament game, which I wouldn’t count out). It’s also Senior Day for the Griffs; Chris Manhertz, Jordan Heath, Chris Perez and Baron will be honored before the game (don’t listen to the roster on ESPN, Jordan Heath is a senior).

(I should also note that the media guide prominently mentions the ceremony will take place before the game, which differs from last year, when coach Jim Baron wanted the ceremony to be after the game … which turned into a mess after the Griffs lost to Rider.)

About Fairfield: I thought long and hard before writing this section as I tried to name Fairfield players who contributed to the team both this year and last year. After Maurice Barrow, I couldn’t think of anyone. Then I looked at their roster and realized he’s the only senior on the team and one of three upperclassmen. And lately, he’s been coming off the bench.

Barrow still leads the team in points per game but these are truly some new-look Stags. Marcus Gilbert and K.J. Rose are the new young leaders of the team, coming in at first and second in minutes per game and second and third in points. Thursday’s win against Niagara may have only been Fairfield’s third of 2014, but these Stags are just young enough not to know they shouldn’t be messing with anyone’s seeding for the tournament. I like the Griffs in this one but Fairfield could pull an upset if they’re taken lightly.

What the Griffs need to show: Continue reading