Runnin’ Rebels too much for Baron’s ‘Runnin’ Griffs’

Griffs’ third loss of season is second against ranked opponent

CCLogobigWhen 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.

Follow on Twitter: @NickVeronica

Canisius upsets Temple for signature win

CCLogobigCanisius came back from a 12-point deficit to pull off an upset of Temple in Philadelphia Wednesday night, 72-62, ending the Owls’ 11-game home winning streak and earning easily the best win for Canisius on this side of the millennium.

Jim Baron’s Griffs trailed 36-28 at halftime but outscored the Owls 44-26 in the second half to give Baron his 398th career win and surpass his win total from all of last season at Rhode Island.

Billy Baron had 19 points and five assists as Canisius made all 10 of its free throws over the final 2:43 to close out the win. Chris Manhertz and Josiah Heath had 13 and 11 rebounds, respectively, while the Griffs played their second straight game without Jordan Heath, who re-sprained his ankle during warmups, according to the Griffs’ radio broadcast.

Khalif Wyatt had 17 points for the Owls while their leading scorer, Scootie Randall, was limited to seven points on 1 of 12 shooting from three-point range. The Owls, who were a 5-seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament, committed only four turnovers but shot 35.5 percent in the game (14.3 percent from three) and were out rebounded 36-28.

“We kept being aggressive, we kept attacking it,” Jim Baron said in a post-game radio interview. “I just kept telling our guys we could come back on these guys. We have different guys [stepping up] at different times and that’s what you need to be a good basketball team.”

Reggie Groves had another quietly effective night, going 4 of 5 on important three-pointers. Isaac Sosa had 13 points after his 24-point outburst Monday and Harold Washington added 12.

Canisius and Temple both moved to 8-2. Canisius goes out west to face No. 21 UNLV Saturday night, with a 10 p.m. EST start time.


–The win gave Canisius its second win this season over an Atlantic 10 school.

–Temple’s only other loss this season was to Duke.

–Canisius has now beaten two teams that went to the NCAA Tournament last year, the other being St. Bonaventure. The last time that happened before this season was when the Griffs beat Siena, 62-61, in January 2011.

–The win was Canisius’ first-ever win over Temple. They hadn’t played since 1966.

–Canisius radio broadcasters, Dave Schofield in particular, were highly critical of the officiating in the road game, at one point saying the referee made a “crap call.” Temple was whistled for 17 fouls in the game, two more than Canisius, though that number was inflated by fouling at the end of the game. Chris Manhertz had four fouls and Freddy Asprilla had three with 7:39 left in the game while Anthony Lee had two for Temple and no other Owl had more than one. Take it for what it’s worth.

–A Canadian scout tweeted Wednesday that 6-foot-6 forward Cassidy Ryan had verbally committed to Canisius.

–UNLV’s Mike Moser, who dropped 19 on Canisius last year in a 95-70 beat down, dislocated his elbow earlier this season and is out for Saturday’s game. UNLV is 3-0 without Moser and has won eight straight.

Follow on Twitter: @NickVeronica