LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – Four Canisius players scored in double figures, led by senior guard Billy Baron and his game-high 29 points, as the Golden Griffins went on the road and defeated Rider 79-66 Friday night in Alumni Gymnasium. The win, Canisius’ fifth-straight MAAC road victory, improved the team to 20-10 overall and 14-5 in MAAC play. This marks the second-straight 20-win campaign for the Griffs and the eighth in program history.
The win, which sets a new program record for consecutive conference road victories in one season, also moved Canisius into a three-way tie with Manhattan and Quinnipiac for second place in the MAAC standings, as the league heads into its final days of the regular season. The Griffs will play at Manhattan Sunday, March 2.
Baron recorded his sixth career double-double as he added a game-high 10 assists to his 29-point night. The East Greenwich, R.I., native finished the game by going 10-for-15 from the field, 5-for-7 from 3-point land and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line while also recording four rebounds and three steals in 36 minutes of action. Fellow senior Jordan Heath was good for 21 points, five boards and two blocks in the win, while freshman Zach Lewis added 14 points, three assists and three steals. Senior Chris Perez had 10 points and five boards in the victory for Canisius, which shot 53.7 percent from the field, 47.6 percent from 3-point range and 78.6 percent from the free-throw line for the night.
For Rider, senior Anthony Myles and freshman Jimmie Taylor scored 15 points apiece in the loss, which was the Broncs’ third straight and sixth in their last seven games. Rider is now 13-15 overall and 9-10 in MAAC play.
“This is another great team win,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. “We played smart and we played together. We had 16 assists on 29 made field goals. We had guys stepping up all night and we really worked to control their high-low game. It is great to get to 20 wins, that is a real testament to the hard work and effort these guys have put in all season.”
With the game tied at 7-7, Canisius scored seven-straight points in the span of 56 seconds, capped by a 3-pointer from Lewis. A lay-up by Myles with 8:46 left in the first half made the score 18-15 in favor of Canisius, but the Blue and Gold broke the game open from there, as the Griffs scored the game’s next nine points in 2:40, highlighted by a pair of threes from Baron. Canisius went into the locker room at halftime leading the Broncs 36-21 after the Griffs shot 52 percent from the field while holding Rider to just 28 percent from the floor and 27.3 percent from 3-point range.
In the second half, Rider was able to whittle Canisius’ lead to nine points at 48-39 with 13:27 left on the clock, but Baron ended up scoring six-straight points for Canisius in 1:04, capped by a steal and a layup, that put the Griffs ahead by 15 points at 54-39 with 11:53 left to play. Rider was never able to cut Canisius’ cushion to single-digits and the Blue and Gold led by as many as 22 points in the second half after the team shot 55.2 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc in the game’s final 20 minutes.
Canisius senior Chris Manhertz had two points and a game-high nine rebounds in the win for the Griffs, which ended the contest with a 32-28 advantage on the glass. Canisius was also able to turn 16 Rider turnovers into 27 points and the Griffs out scored Rider 34-18 in the paint.
Canisius will end the regular season at Manhattan on Sunday, with game time set for 4:30 p.m. That game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.Game Notes: This was the 40th all-time meeting between these two programs, with Rider now holding a 30-10 lead in the series… Canisius swept the regular-season series against Rider for the first time since the Broncs joined the conference before the 1997-98 campaign… The Griffs have scored 70-plus points in 15-straight MAAC games… After going 0-14 all-time at Rider, Canisius has now won three times in its last four trips to the Broncs’ Alumni Gymnasium… This marks the first time Canisius has recorded back-to-back 20-win seasons since 1993-94 and 1994-95… Baron’s 29 points Friday gives him 31.2 points per game in the team’s last five games, where he is also averaging 7.0 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game… Baron moved into a tie with former Griff Darnell Wilson for 12th on the school’s career scoring chart with 1,331 career points… Baron’s 10 assists on Friday makes him just the third player in school history to dish out 150-career assists in back-to-back seasons… Baron has now hit five 3-pointers in a game eight times in his career, with seven of those times coming this season... Baron now has 96 3-pointers this season, which is the program's single-season record... The 21-point effort for Jordan Heath was the third 20-plus point game of his career… In two career games in Rider’s Alumni Gymnasium, Heath averaged 19 points per game… Manhertz’s nine rebounds against Rider makes him the sixth player in school history to record 750-career boards… This is the ninth 20-win season for head coach Jim Baron.