Canisius junior guard Billy Baron scored eight of his game-high 23 points in overtime as the Golden Griffins outscored visiting Saint Peter's by a 16-4 clip in the extra session en route to a 77-65 win Thursday night in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win improves Canisius to 18-11 overall and 11-6 in the MAAC, while the Peacocks slipped to 9-19 overall and 3-14 in conference action.
Baron ended the night by going 7-for-13 from the field and 7-for-9 along with four assists and two rebounds in 38 minutes of action. Senior Harold Washington chipped in 22 points after he shot 8-for-14 from the field, 3-for-3 from 3-point land and 3-for-3 from the charity stripe. Senior Isaac Sosa added 12 points on the power of four made 3-pointers and junior Chris Manhertz chipped in 12 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks in the win for the Griffs, the team's 11th victory at home this season.
"This was a great team win tonight and I thought our defense in overtime was huge," Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. "I thought Reggie Groves gave us amazing minutes off the bench and really locked them down defensively. We couldn't have won tonight without his effort and energy off the bench. That's what you need to win games at this time of year, you need different pieces on different nights and we had a lot of guys offering us good things when it counted."
Saint Peter's led by a score of 58-53 with 5:11 left on the clock before Manhertz made it a two-point game at 58-56 with a lay-up and a free-throw for a traditional three-point play with 4:47 left on the clock. After the Peacocks turned the ball over, Baron stroked two free-throws to knot the game at 58-58 with 4:15 left to play. The score would remain tied at 58-58 for nearly three minutes before Baron pulled up from the top of the key and drained a 3-point field goal with 1:22 left to put Canisius up 61-58. The Griffs had a chance to seal the game up in the final 30 seconds with a pair of free-throws, but the Blue and Gold came up empty, leaving the door open for Saint Peter's guard Yvon Raymond, who drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 21 seconds left to tie the game at 61-61. Canisius turned the ball over in the game's final three seconds and the Peacocks had a chance to win in regulation time, but Blaise Ffrench's jumper in the lane as the horn sounded hit the front iron and the game went into overtime.
In the extra session, Saint Peter's scored first to take a 63-61 lead, but that would be the Peacocks' final lead of the night as Washington and Sosa hit back-to-back triples 42 seconds apart to give Canisius a 67-63 lead with 3:30 left in overtime. Raymond scored for Saint Peter's with a lay-up on the Peacocks' next trip down the floor to make the score 67-65 in favor of Canisius with 3:08 left on the clock, but Baron closed the door on Saint Peter's chances to win on the road as he scored the game's next six points, capped by a layup with 1:32 left in the extra session to put the Griffs up eight at 73-65 with 1:32 left to play.
As a team, Canisius shot 48.1 percent from the field, 52.9 percent from 3-point land and 69.6 percent from the charity stripe, highlighted by a 66.7 percent performance in overtime. Canisius also went 2-for-2 from 3-point land and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the game's final five minutes. Saint Peter's shot 48.2 percent from the field, but went just 35 percent from 3-point range and 36.4 percent from the foul line in the loss. Both team had 32 rebounds on the night and the Griffs were able to turn 17 Saint Peter's turnovers into 18 points.
Saint Peter's guard Desi Washington scored a team-high 18 points for the Peacocks, who slipped to 0-8 in MAAC road games this season with the loss. Raymond had 16 points and eight rebounds for Saint Peter's, while Darius Conley chipped in 14 points and four rebounds.
The Griffs will close out the 2012-13 regular season at home on Saturday, March 2, when the team plays host to Rider University on Senior Day. Tipoff in the Koessler Athletic Center is scheduled for 2 p.m. At the end of the game, Canisius will honor this year's senior class.
Game Notes: This was the 69th all-time meeting between these two Jesuit schools, with the Griffs holding a 38-31 lead in the series... This year's Canisius team sets a new program record for wins in a season in the Koessler Athletic Center with 11... The 11 MAAC wins this year matches the most for the Blue and Gold in the league's current 10-team set-up... The 1998-99 Griffs also had 11 MAAC victories... Baron has scored 20 or more points eight times this season and 13 times in his career... Washington's 22 points on Thursday moved him past the 900-career point milestone... He will start his final home game on Saturday with 905 career points in 59 career games in a Canisius uniform... Manhertz now has seven or more rebounds in 20 games this season and 35 games in his career... Sosa's four 3-pointers against Saint Peter's gives him 86 on the season, which sets a new program record for 3-point field goals in a single season... Sophomore Josiah Heath made his fourth start of the season and added eight points and six rebounds in a season-high 33 minutes of action.