POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – Three Marist players scored in double figures, led by Chavaughn Lewis and Khallid Hart’s team-high 19 points and the host Red Foxes shot 46.9 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range for the game en route to a 65-62 win over Canisius Monday night in the McCann Arena. The win is Marist’s fifth straight and improved the team to 5-9 overall and 2-2 in league play, while the Golden Griffins slipped to 9-6 overall and 3-1 in conference action.
For Canisius, senior guard Billy Baron scored a game-high 27 points and added seven rebounds and four assists in 40 minutes, while fellow senior Jordan Heath chipped in 11 points and four blocks. Canisius shot 38.7 percent from the floor as a team and 37.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc. The Griffs made just 5-of-9 free throws on the night and saw Marist turn nine Canisius turnovers into 13 points.
“Give Marist credit, they made some big shots tonight and they’re playing with a lot of energy,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. “We didn’t do the little things tonight and that hurt us. We had the game tied late and they got a rebound and knocked down a big 3-pointer. We just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Canisius trailed Marist 32-31 at halftime and tied the game at 32-32 with 19:25 left in regulation time when Jordan Heath made 1-of-2 free-throws. From there, the Red Foxes scored the game’s next 11 points over the span of 2:54 to take a 43-32 lead In that run, Lewis and teammate Jay Bowie scored eight of Marist’s points, and the run was capped by a driving lay-up from Lewis. Canisius battled back and got the game to 53-52 with 4:52 left to play thanks to the efforts of Baron, who scored 17 of his game-high 27 points in the game’s final 20 minutes. Heath knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 4:03 left to play to knot the game at 55-55, but Marist responded and scored the game’s next five points to push its cushion back to 60-55 with 2:24 remaining.
Down by five at 60-55, Baron hit a running jumper from the elbow to make the score 60-57, and Canisius freshman Zach Lewis forced a turnover on Marist’s next possession, but the Blue and Gold came up empty at their basket before Bowie hit a clutch 3-pointer from the far corner as the shot clock was winding down to push Marist’s lead back to six points at 63-57 with 58.8 seconds left to play. Zach Lewis cut the Griffs’ deficit in half with a 3-pointer off a loose-ball scramble with 10.7 seconds left and after Marist made a free-throw to go up four at 64-60, Heath scored a lay-up to make it a one-possession game at 64-62 with 2.1 seconds left. Canisius was forced to foul and Lewis made 1-of-2 free-throws for the Red Foxes to seal the win for Marist.
Zach Lewis had nine points, five rebounds, two assists and a steal off the bench for the Griffs, while redshirt freshman Phil Valenti added eight points, five boards and two steals in 19 minutes. Canisius’ bench out scored Marist’s reserves by a 17-0 count for the game and the two teams finished the contest with 34 rebounds apiece.
Canisius will return home for the first time in the 2014 calendar year on Friday, Jan. 10, when the team plays host to Rider. Tipoff in the Koessler Athletic Center is set for 7 p.m.Game Notes: This was the 38th all-time meeting between Canisius and Marist, with the Griffs now leading the series 22-16… The loss ended Canisius’ two-game winning streak over Marist… The Griffs matched a season low in free-throws made and free-throw attempts… Baron has now scored 20-plus points in 10 games this season through 15 games – last year he had 20 or more points 10 times in 34 contests… Jordan Heath’s four blocked shots matches his season high… Senior Chris Manhertz had seven rebounds in the loss for the Blue and Gold, the 44th time in his career where he’s had seven or more boards in a game… Lewis is averaging 8.6 points per game in the team’s last five contests.