Canisius senior guard Billy Baron had 23 points, eight assists and five rebounds and fellow senior Chris Perez scored 21 points to go with five assists in his Canisius debut as the Golden Griffins defeated Daemen 102-84 Monday night in an exhibition game in the Koessler Athletic Center. Every Canisius player in uniform played in the game and 10 of the team’s 12 active players scored in the victory.
Baron, the MAAC Preseason Player of the Year, went 7-for-10 from the field, 3-for-5 from 3-point land and 6-for-8 from the free-throw line in the win, while Perez ended the night by going 8-for-14 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the charity stripe. Four Griffs posted double figures in the scoring column in the win, as senior Jordan Heath scored 15 points to go with eight boards and three blocks and redshirt sophomore Dominique Raney chipped in 11 points and four assists in 17 minutes.
Canisius shot 53.6 percent from the field as a team and ended the contest by going 21-for-30 from the free-throw line. The Griffs held a 37-33 advantage on the glass, led by junior forward Josiah Heath and his team-high nine rebounds. Freshman Zach Lewis and redshirt freshman Phil Valenti added eight points each to the Griffs’ winning effort, as the Blue and Gold improved to 6-1 in its last seven exhibition games, dating back to the 2000-01 campaign.
“This was a good effort tonight against a quick, well-coached team, but we know we still have some work to do,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. “I thought we got a lot of good contributions from all of our guys, but we really need to work on little things like understanding positioning on defense and rebounding the basketball. We have some work ahead of us, but all in all, this was good for us to see another team with quick guards as we get ready to play a tough schedule again this season.”
For Daemen, junior Gerald Beverly recorded a double-double with a game-high 24 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Jordan Greene chipped in 17 points, while senior Casey Sheehan added 15 points and eight assists. Senior Mark Coppola also had a double-double for the Wildcats, as he ended the night with 11 points and 10 assists. Daemen shot 50.8 percent from the field and 70.6 percent from the free-throw line for the game, but turned the ball over 18 times, which resulted in 28 Canisius points.
The Griffs never trailed in the game, jumping out to an early 9-4 lead 3:54 into the contest on the power of a pair of treys from Baron and Jordan Heath and a traditional 3-point play from Perez. The Wildcats battled back and made it a one-point game at 11-10 at the 14:58 mark of the first half, but the Blue and Gold pulled away with an 11-0 run over 1:30, capped by a baseline jumper from Valenti to make the score 22-10. Canisius shot 52.9 percent from the field in the game’s first 20 minutes and held a 47-35 lead at the break.
In the second half, Daemen could not close the gap, as Canisius lead by as many as 26 in the game’s final four minutes. Redshirt sophomore Kevin Bleeker scored five points in his first game action since 2011-12 and freshman Lou Dunbar scored five points off the bench as well. The Griffs got 27 points off the bench in the win and tallied 46 points in the paint.
Canisius will close out its exhibition season Nov. 6, when the team plays host to Mercyhurst in the Koessler Athletic Center. Game time is set for 7 p.m.Game Notes: Canisius and Daemen met for the first time in men’s basketball… Senior Chris Manhertz (ankle) and junior Jeremiah Williams (hamstring) did not dress… Both players are expected to return to practice in the next few days… Prior to the game, Canisius hosted local boys in grades five and six for a basketball clinic that also stressed the importance of reading and proper nutrition… The crowd of 1,581 marks the fifth crowd of 1,500 or more in the Koessler Athletic Center for a men’s basketball game since the start of last season.