Buffalo (WKBW/Canisius) All five Canisius starters scored in double figures, led by junior Jordan Heath and his career-high 21 points, as the Golden Griffins defeated Loyola (Md.) 91-79 Thursday night in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win improved Canisius to 14-8 overall and 7-4 in MAAC play, while the Greyhounds have now dropped two straight to fall to 15-8 on the year and 7-4 in conference action.
Heath finished the night with his second double-double in the team’s last three games as he added 11 rebounds and a career-high seven blocked shots in 36 minutes of action. The Rochester, N.Y., native went 8-for-11 from the field, 3-for-4 from 3-point land and 2-for-4 from the free-throw line and was also credited with a steal and an assist in the win for the Blue and Gold. Senior Isaac Sosa had 19 points, powered by six 3-pointers, while junior Billy Baron added 16 points and a game-high seven assists. Senior Harold Washington was good for 13 points and junior Chris Manhertz chipped in 11 points and eight rebounds for the Griffs, which shot 60.4 percent from the field, 68.4 percent from 3-point land and 83.3 percent from the free-throw line en route to the team’s first 90-plus point regulation game in nearly eight years.
“Coming back from a real emotional game against Niagara, I thought our guys did a good job and they were ready to go,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. “It’s part of a season. I told them you have to keep moving forward. You can’t dwell on what you can’t control. I thought we did a good job being focused and they really bought into the game plan. We had a bunch of guys step up and we were able to beat a good team. We knew they were going to make a run at us late, but we made plays down the stretch and made our free throws.”
With Canisius in the lead at 10-6 just 3:51 into the contest, the Griffs went on a 13-2 run over the span of 3:29 to take a 23-8 lead. That scoring spurt was started on a 3-pointer by Sosa off an assist from Baron and capped by a lay-up from Jordan Heath off the feed from Baron. Loyola was able to work Canisius’ margin to four points at 27-23 with 6:52 left before the break, but a trey by Heath, a bucket from Baron and back-to-back 3-pointers by Sosa and Washington stretched Canisius’ lead right back to 15 at 38-23 with 2:44 left before halftime. A basket by Robert Olson with 41 ticks left in the first half made it a 10-point game at 41-31 in favor of the Blue and Gold, but a jumper by junior Reggie Groves with six seconds left before intermission sent the teams into the locker room with Canisius leading 43-31.
In the second half, Canisius’ lead ballooned to as many as 21 points at 69-48 with 11:04 left to play after Baron nailed a 3-point field goal from the top of the key. The Griffs cushion hovered between 15 to 18 points for a little over 6:00 of game action before Loyola made a run at Canisius and eventually got within five points at 80-75 with 4:16 left to play thanks to a 13-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer from the right wing by Olson. Heath stopped the Greyhounds’ scoring attack with a pair of makes from the free-throw line out of the game’s final media timeout to make the score 82-75, but Loyola made one of two tosses from the charity stripe to make the score 82-76 with 3:22 left on the clock. On Canisius’ next trip down the floor, Baron nailed his second 3-pointer of the night to give Canisius an 85-76 lead, but the ‘Hounds answered with a three-ball from Dylon Cormier with 2:04 left to make the score 85-79. The Griffs were able to secure the win down the stretch as Washington went 6-for-6 from the foul line in the game’s final 1:08.
Olson led Loyola with his career-high 27 points after he went 9-for-21 from the field, 4-for-10 from 3-point land and 5-for-5 from the free-throw line. Cormier and Etherly had 13 points each for the Greyhounds, which shot 44.1 percent, 27.8 percent from 3-point land and 70 percent from the foul line. Loyola was charged with just three turnovers in the loss and ended the night with 11 steals against just one for the Griffs.
Canisius will close out is three-game MAAC homestand Saturday night, Feb. 2, when the team plays host to Iona. The Griffs and the Gaels will tipoff at 7 p.m., in the Koessler Athletic Center.