Four Canisius players scored in double figures, led by senior guard Isaac Sosa and his game-high 18 points, and the Golden Griffin defense turned 20 Siena turnovers into 29 points as the Blue and Gold recorded a 76-44 victory over the visiting Saints Saturday afternoon on Hall of Fame Day in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win improved Canisius to 12-7 overall and 5-3 in the MAAC, while Siena slipped to 4-15 overall and 2-6 in league play.
The 32-point win is Canisius' largest regular-season MAAC victory since Feb. 8, 1997, when the Griffs defeated Fairfield 91-45. The 44-points allowed to Siena matched the Koessler Athletic Center record for fewest points in a game by an opponent, a number last posted by Liberty on Nov. 17, 1990. The Griffs led by as many as 34 points with 6:20 left in the game and the Griffs closed out the game with 40 points in the paint, 27 second-chance points and a 20-0 margin in fast-break points scored.
Sosa, who scored a season-high 25 points in Thursday's win over Manhattan, came back on Saturday and scored 18 points after he went 6-for-11 from the field, 4-for-9 from 3-point land and 2-for-3 from the free-throw line to go with three rebounds, two assists and a steal. Junior Chris Manhertz posted his sixth career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while senior Alshwan Hymes and junior Jordan Heath scored 11 points apiece in the win. Senior Harold Washington and junior Billy Baron chipped in seven points apiece for the Griffs and junior Reggie Groves came off the bench to add six points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal in 15 minutes of action. Canisius ended the contest with 18 assists on 32 made field goals and turned the ball over a season-low four times.
"I thought we did a much better job defending the inside today, as well as their guards," Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. "In the first half, we only had one turnover, which is unbelievable. We did a great job sharing the basketball and we took care of the glass and we went and got rebounds. We knew Siena is very athletic and they have great inside players. This was a good win for us, and this was our best defensive effort this year for sure."
After a slow start, Canisius led the game 7-6 with 15:34 left before halftime, but the Griffs put the pedal down and never looked back, as the Blue and Gold would go on a 14-4 run over the next 6:15 to take a 24-10 lead, capped by a 3-pointer by Jordan Heath. Siena scored the game's next four points to make the score 24-14 with 7:32 left in the half, but the Griffs closed out the first stanza on an 18-5, capped by a 3-pointer by Sosa with 30 seconds left in the half to make the score 42-19 at the break.
In the second half, Canisius scored the half's first four points and a dunk by Jordan Heath with 16:05 left to play in the game gave the Griffs a 51-21 lead. Siena was able to trim Canisius' cushion to 29 points at 56-27 with 12:48 left in the game on a lay-up by forward Imoh Silas, but a lay-up by Jordan Heath moments later pushed the Griffs' hold back to 31 points at 58-27. In the game's final 11:56, Siena was only able to get the Griffs' margin under 30 points one time on a 3-pointer by Brett Bisping, but a lay-up by Groves, a slam dunk by sophomore Tyrel Edwards and a lay-up by Jordan Heath stretched the lead back to 34 points at 74-40 with 1:50 left to play.
Canisius shot 43.8 percent from the field, 29.6 percent from 3-point range and 57.1 percent from the free-throw line in the win, while Siena shot 32.7 percent from the floor, 25 percent from 3-point land and 90 percent from the charity stripe. The Griffs held a 42-35 advantage on the glass, as all 10 players that saw action for the Griffs had at least one rebound. Baron led the way with four assists for Canisius, while Jordan Heath, Hymes and sophomore Josiah Heath all had three helpers in the victory, a win that snapped Canisius' four-game losing streak to Siena.
Freshman Rich Audu scored a career-high 11 points in the loss for Siena, which has now lost 14 of its last 15 road MAAC games, dating back to the 2010-11 campaign. Anosike and Silas each had eight points for the Saints, while Anosike, the MAAC's leading rebounder, corralled a team-high nine rebounds.
Canisius will return to action Friday, Jan. 25, when the team plays at Rider in Lawrenceville, N.J. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m., in Rider's Alumni Gymnasium.Game Notes: This was the 89th all-time meeting between these two schools, and Siena holds a 51-39 advantage in the series... The 32-point win for Canisius over Siena is Canisius' second-largest margin of victory for the Griffs in the series... The Griffs moved to 8-1 at home this season, the team's best record through nine home dates since 1995-96... Canisius is averaging 72.6 points per game at home this season and holds a plus 9.2 point margin in those games... No player in Canisius' starting line-up was charged with a turnover in the game... Sosa has now hit three or more 3-pointers in 12 of the team's last 13 games... The senior guard is averaging a team-high 15.8 points per game in the Koessler Athletic Center this season... Manhertz's 11 rebounds gives him double-digit boards in seven of the team's eight MAAC games this year... At halftime, Canisius officially inducted the 50th class into the school's Sports Hall of Fame... Inducted on Saturday were former men's basketball player Darren Fenn '01, former women's basketball player Shauna (Geronzin) Green '02, former women's lacrosse player Kristy Grossman '02, MS '07, former softball player Lynn Stoczynski '01, former football player Brian Swatland '98, MS '02 and former baseball coach Don Colpoys.