Postgame video: Canisius 67, UMKC 52

By Nick Veronica

Canisius coach Jim Baron

“We’re resilient and we can fall back on defending,” Jim Baron said of what he’s learned so far about his team. “But we have to keep getting better. Our bench has to become a lot more consistent. We’re going to need to play a lot of guys the way we play.”

Baron had some good advice for former Griff Jordan Heath, who is playing professionally in Belgium: “It’s not how much [money] you make, it’s how much you keep.”

Canisius guard Zach Lewis

“We defended and we rebounded. Those are things coach tells us every single day. Defense and rebounding — that’s the only way we’re going to win games.”

Canisius forward Phil Valenti

“Guys are playing real active, and that’s the key on defense. When you’re lazy, it’s easier for them to get to the rim. But when you’re active it makes them force up bad shots.”

UMKC did not meet with the media.


Immediate reactions: Canisius 67, UMKC 55

UMKC 23 32 — 55
Canisius 31 36 — 67

By Nick Veronica

How it happened: Phil Valenti, Zach Lewis and Josiah Heath provided 43 of Canisius’ 67 points and the Griffs held their opponent to 60 points and fewer for the eighth time in 11 games this season. All 11 Griffs scored, including the first collegiate points for Cassidy Ryan.

What it means: Canisius goes to 7-4 and 4-0 at the Koessler Athletic Center while UMKC is now 5-10. Canisius finishes its nonconference schedule with a 5-4 record, marking the third straight year the team has had a winning record outside of the MAAC.

Canisius currently leads the MAAC at 2-0, along with Monmouth and Fairfield. Monmouth comes to the KAC on Jan. 2.

It was over when: Zach Lewis missed a three-pointer badly at the end of the shot clock late in the second half, but Jamal Reynolds got the rebound and made a nice move around a defender before getting hammered on the layup attempt. He got the bucket to fall and the free throw to put Canisius up 60-50 with 2:26 remaining.

Pros in the house: Two professional former Griffs were in the house: new Buffalo Bill Chris Manhertz (who is at most games) and Jordan Heath, who is playing professionally in Belgium.

No place like home: The Griffs are now 3-0 on their five-game homestand, which is the team’s longest homestand since having five straight home games during in 1993-94.

Hair cut needed:

Starters: Canisius– Jan Grzelinski, Zach Lewis, Phil Valenti, Jamal Reynolds, Josiah Heath. UMKC — Martez Harrison, Frank WIlliams, Reese Holliday, Darius Austin, Thaddues Smith.

Next: Canisius’ homestand continues on Friday, Jan. 2 when MAAC play reopens with a 7 p.m. contest against Monmouth.