BALTIMORE - The Canisius College men's basketball team was within two points with 48 seconds left to play, but Loyola (Md.) Anthony Winbush drained a pair of free-throws on his Senior Night to help lift the host Greyhounds to a 68-64 win in Reitz Arena Thursday night. The win moves Loyola to 18-9 overall and 10-5 in MAAC play while the Golden Griffins slipped to 16-10 overall and 9-6 in conference action.
Canisius was led by junior center Jordan Heath, who scored 15 points to go with nine rebounds and two blocked shots. Fellow junior Chris Manhertz collected his eighth career double-double as he posted 14 points to go with 10 boards and junior Billy Baron chipped in 14 points. Loyola had three players score in double figures as well, led by senior Robert Olson, who scored a game-high 18 points on the power of four made 3-point field goals while adding five steals to his final stat line.
Canisius trailed by seven points at 66-59 after Winbush knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:37 left in the contest. Out of a 30-second Loyola timeout, Canisius missed a 3-point try but Manhertz grabbed the offensive rebound and went back up strong to make the score 66-61 in favor of the 'Hounds with 2:14 left to play. Both teams traded missed field goals and turnovers before Loyola's Erik Etherly strolled to the free-throw line with 54 seconds left on the clock. The MAAC's Preseason Player of the Year missed the front-end of a 1-and-1 free-throw chance and the rebound by Manhertz was kicked to Baron, who raced down the floor and drilled a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left to make it a two-point game at 66-64.
The Griffs were able to get a defensive stop with less the 20 ticks remaining and the Blue and Gold had a chance to take the lead for good late, but Baron's 3-point shot in transition hit the back iron and bounced out-of-bounds. On the ensuing in-bounds pass, Loyola got the ball to Winbush, who strolled to the charity stripe and iced the game with two free-throws with five seconds left in the contest. For the night, Loyola shot 50 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from 3-point land while turning 17 Canisius turnovers into 19 points.
"I thought we really had a chance to win this game, but you just can't turn the ball over 17 times and think you're going to win," Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. "You can't go on the road to play at the defending league champion and give the ball away that many times. It can't happen. We were okay on the boards, but we were not smart and they took advantage. They hit their free-throws too, especially late. That's a good team there and they really made it hurt tonight when we gave the ball away."
Loyola led by five at the half and stretched that cushion to 10 points at 51-41 with 11:22 left in the game after Julius Brooks laid one off the glass for two of his 13 points. From there, Canisius was able to make it a game with an 8-2 run over the span of 2:14, with that run starting on a 3-pointer by senior Alshwan Hymes and wrapping up on a three-ball from Baron with 8:37 left that made the score 53-49 in favor of Loyola. The Griffs would get within three points at 55-52 with 7:44 left to play after Manhertz scored a traditional three-point play with a hoop and a free-throw, and the Blue and Gold had a chance to knot the game at 55 moments later, but a missed 3-point try by Canisius turned into a made 3-pointer by Olson at the other end with 6:55 left that gave Loyola a 58-52 lead.
Olson shot 7-for-14 from the field and 4-for-8 from 3-point land in the win for Loyola, which held a 32-28 lead in points in the paint and an 8-0 margin in fast-break points. Jordan Heath added nine rebounds to the losing cause for the Griffs, which out rebounded Loyola by a 28-27 count. Canisius senior Isaac Sosa had eight points and made two 3-pointers for the Blue and Gold as the team hit just six treys on the night.
The Griffs will play their final regular-season MAAC road game at Saint Peter's on Saturday Feb. 16. Tipoff in the Yanitelli Center in Jersey City, N.J., is set for 2 p.m. That game has been designated as the CollegeInsider.com/MAAC Game of the Week and fans can view it live online at CollegeInsider.com for no charge.
Game Notes: This was the 58th all-time meeting between these two Jesuit programs, and Canisius leads the series 35-23... The trip to Loyola's Reitz Arena was the Griffs last with Loyola as a member of the MAAC - the school will join the Patriot League for the 2013-14 academic year... Canisius is now 3-4 in games decided by five points or less this season... Jordan Heath has scored in double figures in three of the team's last five games... Four of Manhertz's eight career double-doubles have come this season, and seven of his career double-doubles have come in MAAC play... After averaging nearly 13.5 assists per game for most of the season, the Griffs are averaging just 7.3 assists per game in the team's last three contests... Sosa scored Canisius' first points of the night - a 3-point field goal - the fifth time this season he's opened the scoring for Canisius with a 3-pointer.