BURLINGTON, Vt. - The University of Vermont shot 57.8 percent from the floor and had five players in double figures to defeat the Canisius men's basketball team 87-79 at the Patrick Gymnasium in a Ramada WorldWide BracketBusters game on Saturday afternoon. With the loss, Canisius falls to 17-11 on the season.
Senior Harold Washington led Canisius with a season-high 29 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Senior Alshwan Hymes had 15 points in 24 minutes off the bench. Junior Billy Barton had 12 points and five assists. Senior Isaac Sosa scored 11 points while junior Chris Manhertz grabbed 10 rebounds.
"We just didn't guard them and they made shots," Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. "We did a poor job defensively - plain and simple. We have to guard, and we have to have some guys make some plays on the defensive end of the floor. You can't let good teams like that shoot better than 55 percent from the field and think you're going to be able to win."
Canisius held a 10-8 lead after a layup from Manhertz before the Catamounts heated up from behind the arc. Vermont scored eight straight points to go up 16-10 and drained four of its first five 3-pointers in the early going. The Griffs used 3-pointers from Hymes on back-to-back possessions to take a 23-22 lead with just over seven minutes left in the half. The Griffs extended that to a 10-2 run, going up 27-24 on a jumper from Washington. Vermont scored 11 straight points and closed the half on a 14-3 run to take a 38-30 lead into the locker room.
Vermont created some separation with a six-point spurt, getting three-point plays from Luke Apfeld and Trey Blue, to go up 53-40. Canisius responded with five quick points, getting a 3-pointer from Hymes and a layup from Washington to get within eight. Vermont extended the lead to as many as 15 points, going up 68-53 after a 3-pointer from Sandro Carissimo with 7:35 left. The Griffs came back with an 8-2 run, getting a 3-pointer and drunk from Washington along with a 3-pointer from Baron to make it 70-61.
Vermont (18-9) wouldn't let the Griffs back into the game as Ethan O'Day capped a stretch where he scored 10 of the Catamounts 14 points with two free throws to make it a 13-point game. Canisius made a late rally, using a 10-2 run to get within five at 76-71 after a 3-pointer from Sosa with 1:13 left. Vermont made 12 free throws in the final 90 seconds to put the game away.
O'Day led Vermont with 22 points while Clancy Rugg and Blue each had 17 points. Apfeld scored 14 points and Carissimo had 10 points. Vermont went 27-of-31 from the free-throw line on the day and shot 66.7 percent from the floor in the second half.
Canisius returns to the Koessler Athletic Center to wrap up the regular season next weekend. The Golden Griffins host Saint Peter's University on Thursday night. The ESPN3 broadcast is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.Notes: This was the 18th all-time meeting between Canisius and Vermont on the hardwood, with the Griffs leading the series 16-2... Saturday's game in Burlington was the first meeting between these two schools in men's basketball since Jan. 28, 1991... Canisius saw its record move to 5-3 all-time in BracketBuster games, with all three of those losses (at Coastal Carolina, at Boston University and at Vermont) coming on the road... Vermont's 27-for-31 effort from the free-throw line in the game matched season highs for a Canisius opponent this season - Stony Brook also went 27-for-31 from the free-throw line against the Griffs Nov. 24... Washington's 29 points marked the fifth time this season and the 14th time in his career where he has scored 20 or more points in a game... Washington's four steals on Saturday left him one shy of tying his career high of five, which he accomplished at James Madison Nov. 13, 2011, in his first career game as a Griff... Hymes' 15 points gives him double figures in the scoring column 43 times in his career and leaves him three points shy of joining the Canisius 1,000 Point Club... Manhertz had recorded 10 or more rebounds in a game 12 times this season and 21 times in his career.