Four Canisius players posted double figures in the scoring column, led by senior guard Billy Baron and his game-high 21 points, as the host Golden Griffins defeated Siena 93-78 Sunday afternoon in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win, Canisius’ second straight, moves the team to 5-3 overall and 2-0 in MAAC action, while Siena slipped to 3-8 overall and 1-1 in conference action with the loss.
Baron recorded his fourth career double-double in the win, as he added a career-high 13 assists to his game-high 21 points. Baron was also credited with five rebounds and two steals in the win for the Blue and Gold, the program’s second-straight win over Siena dating back to last season. Redshirt sophomore Dominique Raney scored a career-high 19 points in the win for the Griffs while freshman Zach Lewis chipped in 18 points, three rebounds, an assist and a steal in 16 minutes of action. Senior Jordan Heath scored 15 points, blocked four shots and dished out three assists for Canisius, which ended the day with a season-high 24 assists against nine turnovers.
“We knew coming in this was going to be a hard-fought game, and I think that this was a solid team win over a team [Siena] that’s going to win some games in this league this season,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. “I thought we did another great job of sharing the basketball. We got on a roll with all those baskets we made early and we kept rolling there for a bit. Siena worked hard and got back in the game in the second half, so I give them credit. We have to do a better job of rebounding the basketball, but I hope we can build on this effort and get ready for our game against Buffalo on Wednesday.”
In all, eight of the nine Griffs that played on Sunday scored at least two points, as the Blue and Gold shot 49.2 percent from the field, 57.7 percent from 3-point land and 66.7 percent from the free-throw line. Senior Chris Manhertz had nine points, six rebounds and two blocks while fellow senior Chris Perez was good for seven points and a season-high four assists while holding Siena’s top scoring option, guard Rob Poole, to just nine points.
Siena took a 7-6 lead 2:25 into the game after Poole hit a 3-pointer from the right corner, but the Griffs took over from there, using an 18-4 run over the span of 3:39 to take control of the game for good. That run started with a 3-pointer by Raney, one of his four makes from behind the arc on the day, and was capped by five-straight points by Lewis, who finished the day by going 6-for-13 from the field, 4-for-8 from 3-point land and 2-for-3 from the charity stripe in the win. Canisius led 57-36 at the intermission, and stretched its lead to as many as 28 points in the first 2:47 of the second stanza at 66-38 after Raney scored eight of the Griffs’ first nine points out of the halftime break. Siena got the Canisius cushion under 20 points midway through the second half and trailed by 10 at 81-71 with 4:51 left in the game before Raney, redshirt freshman Phil Valenti and Baron combined to score six of the game’s next eight points to seal the victory.
Siena had three players score in double figures, led by Brett Bisping’s team-high 17 points. He also had nine rebounds as Siena out rebounded the Canisius 35-30 for the game. Michael Wolfe had 14 points off the bench and Maurice White was good for 10 points and six boards for the Saints, which shot 56.1 percent from the field, but went just 1-for-9 from 3-point land while turning the ball over 17 times.
Canisius will return to action Wednesday, Dec. 11, when the Griffs play cross-town rival Buffalo in First Niagara Center. Game time between the Griffs and the Bulls is set for 8 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.Game Notes: This was the 90th all-time meeting between Canisius and Siena, with the Saints holding a 51-39 lead in the series… Canisius has now won back-to-back games over Siena for the first time since 2005… The Griffs are 2-0 in MAAC play for the second-straight season and for the fifth time since the school joined the conference prior to the start of the 1989-90 academic year… Canisius scored a season-high 20 points on the fast break on Sunday… All four of Baron’s career double-doubles have come with points and assists… Canisius’ 15 makes from 3-point land on Sunday ranks third on the school’s single-game 3-point field goals made list… The Griff set a school record with 17 makes from long range at Marist Dec. 9, 2012… Manhertz’s six rebounds gives him 615 in his career, which ties him for 13th in school history with former Griff Ray Hall… Jordan Heath’s four blocks are the most for him since he had five swats against Elon March 20, 2013 in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament… Lewis’ 18 points are the most for a Canisius freshman since Kevin Bleeker had 18 points in an overtime win at South Dakota Dec. 18, 2011.