ELON, N.C. – Metro State, the No. 1 ranked team at the NCAA Division II level, shot 51.7 percent from the field as a team and turned 14 Canisius turnovers into 23 points en route to an 83-69 win over the Golden Griffins Tuesday night in the NIT Season Tip Off Consolation Round in Alumni Gym at Elon University. The loss for the Canisius ended the Griffs’ two-game winning streak and evened the Blue and Gold’s record to 3-3 on the year. The game was an exhibition contest for the Roadrunners.
Three Metro State players scored in double figures, led by junior guard Mitch McCarron and his game-high 28 points. Junior center Nicholas Kay added 21 points, five rebounds and four assists, while senior Brandon Jefferson was good for 17 points and four assists. The Roadrunners outrebounded the Griffs by a 32-28 count and ended the night shooting 42.9 percent from 3-point land after going 9-for-21 from long range.
For Canisius, redshirt sophomore Dominique Raney scored a career-high 17 points and recorded two steals, while senior guard Billy Baron posted 15 points and three rebounds. Senior Chris Perez chipped in 12 points to the Griffs’ losing effort, which saw Canisius end its run in the NIT Season Tip Off with a 2-2 record.
“We had too many crucial turnovers at key points and each time it was a killer,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. “When you play against a fast team like Metro State, you have to be under control and not let them force you into mistakes. We made too many mistakes at both ends of the floor and [Mitch] McCarron hit big shot after big shot that kept us trying to get back into the game. That team has won three games this year against Division I schools, but we didn’t help ourselves with all turnovers.”
The Roadrunners (2-0) jumped out to an early 6-2 lead 2:35 into the game and never looked back. Canisius trailed Metro State 36-28 at the break after the Roadrunner shot 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point land in the game’s first 20 minutes against Canisius’ 37.5 percent effort from the floor. In the second half, Canisius scored the first four points on the stanza on a lay-up by Jordan Heath and a break-away dunk by Raney, but seven-straight points by Metro State made it an 11-point game at 43-32 with 16:54 left in the contest. Canisius was able to get within six points at 46-40 with 13:10 left to play after Chris Manhertz grabbed an offensive rebound and laid one over the front-iron, by McCarron came down and ended the Griffs’ hopes with a 3-pointer from the top of the key on Metro State’s next possession to push the Roadrunners’ cushion back to nine at 49-40 with 12:46 left to play.
Manhertz scored seven points to go with six rebounds in the loss for Canisius, while Jordan Heath chipped in six points, four rebounds and a game-high two blocked shots. Canisius had just three assists in the loss and shot 65.4 percent from the charity stripe.
The Griffs will be off until Dec. 6, when the team returns home to open MAAC play against Saint Peter’s in the Koessler Athletic Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.Game Notes: Canisius and Metro State met for the first time on Tuesday night… Baron has now scored 713 career points in 40 games as a Griff… Manhertz’s six rebounds against Metro State moved him past 600 in his career… Jordan Heath now has two blocks in four of the team’s first six games this season… Junior Josiah Heath played in his 70th career game as a Griff, which is every game for the team since the start of the 2011-12 season.