BUFFALO, N.Y. – (Canisius) Canisius College senior Greg Logins scored a career-high 30 points and sophomore guard Gaby Belardo laid in the game-winning shot with less than four seconds left in regulation as the Golden Griffins defeated the Iona Gaels 75-73 Sunday afternoon in MAAC action in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win snaps Canisius’ two-game losing streak and improves the team to 9-10 overall and 3-6 in the MAAC, while Iona sees its five-game winning streak come to an end as the Gaels fell to 13-7 overall and 7-2 in conference action.
The 30 points for Logins came after he went 11-for-15 from the field, 6-for-7 from 3-point land and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line to go along with four rebounds and two blocked shots. The senior from Sodus, N.Y., had 22 points in the second half alone and he is the first Canisius player to score 30-or more points in a home game since former Griff Corey herring had 32 points against Fairfield in the Koessler Center on Jan. 29, 2006.
The Griffs led by five points at 72-67 with 30 seconds left in the game after senior Elton Frazier hit two free throws. Iona raced down the floor and cut the Griffs’ lead to two at 72-70 when freshman Sean Armand hit a trey from the right wing with 23 ticks left on the clock. After an Iona timeout, the Gaels fouled Canisius senior Julius Coles, who went to the line with 21 seconds remaining and he sunk one of two charity tosses to put the Griffs up 73-70.
On Iona’s ensuing possession, junior guard Jermel Jenkins was able to get off a 3-point shot from the corner to knot the game at 73-73 with 9.4 seconds left in the game. The Griffs, who were without a timeout, quickly inbounded the ball and Coles was able to find a streaking Belardo, who broke away from the pack at midcourt and raced through the wide-open lane to drop one over the front of the rim to put Canisius ahead 75-73. The Gaels made one last attempt to win the game, but Scott Machado’s half-court heave as the horn sounded hit the front iron to clinch the victory for the Griffs.
“This was another great college basketball game between two talented teams,” Canisius head coach Tom Parrotta said. “This is no disrespect to Iona, because I think they are a great team, but this game was won yesterday when we did some soul searching as a team. We talked about seniors stepping up and we told the younger guys they needed to push through as well. We had a good practice and a really spirited walk-through this morning, but we came in knowing this was about us finding a way to win. To their credit, our guys found a way to win.”
Iona led 38-34 at the break despite Canisius shooting 60.9 percent from the floor in the game’s opening 20 minutes. In the first 2:28 of the second half, Logins scored six points for the Griffs, with his jumper from the baseline at the 17:38 mark putting the Blue and Gold ahead 41-40. After Iona regained the lead at 43-41 on a Kyle Smyth 3-pointer, Coles and Logins answered with back-to-back 3-point field goals 17 second apart to put the Griffs up 47-45 with 15:53 left in the game. The game would remain tight for the rest of the contest, with Canisius’ 60-54 lead with 8:43 standing as the largest cushion for either team in the final nine minutes. Iona zapped that lead and took a 61-60 lead with seven straight points in 1:18, but a pair of made free-throws by senior Robert Goldsberry put the Griffs up 62-61 with 4:18 remaining, a lead Canisius would not relinquish.
For the game, the Griffs shot 53.8 percent from the floor, 47.4 percent from 3-point land and 66.7 percent from the free-throw line, while dishing out 21 assists on 28-made baskets. Coles ended the night with 12 points and five assists, while Belardo and Frazier chipped in 11 apiece. Machado led Iona with a team-high 17 points, while Jenkins added 14 points and Smyth posted 13 in the losing effort. Junior Mike Glover, who entered the game as the only player in the nation to average more than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, finished the night with 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Gaels, who shot 40 percent from the floor, 44.4 percent from 3-point range and 76.5 percent from the charity stripe.
Canisius will wrap up its three-game MAAC homestand Friday night, Jan. 28, when the team plays host to long-time rival Niagara in the Koessler Athletic Center. That game will be the back end of a doubleheader with the women’s team, and tipoff between the Griffs and the Purple Eagles is set for 7 p.m. The game can be seen live nationally on ESPNU and ESPN3.com.
Game Notes: Canisius has now beaten Iona in the Koessler Athletic Center in each of the last two seasons… The Gaels still lead the all-time series by a 29-27 count… Sunday’s game was the 400th MAAC contest in Canisius history… The Griffs are 3-2 in games decided by five points or less this season… The win over Iona snaps Canisius’ 25-game losing streak in games played on Sundays – prior to today’s win, the last time the Griffs won a Sunday contest was Feb. 5, 2006 when the team beat Rider at home… Logins is the first Canisius player to score 20-plus points in a half since Chuck Harris had 20 points in the first half against Marist on the road Dec. 8, 2006… Logins’ six 3-point field goals is a new career-high… Frazier had five-plus assists in the win, which is a new career high, while Goldsberry’s five assists marks the 17th time in his career where he’s dished out five assists in a contest… Tomas Vazquez-Simmons led the team with three blocked shots, the 77th time he’s led the team in blocks… Belardo has scored in double figures in four-straight games.