By Paul Casey Gotham
BUFFALO, N.Y. — What is the true value of timing? The Canisius Golden Griffins hope to find that answer.
Elton Frazier led three Golden Griffins in double figures with 14 as Cansius thumped the St. Peter’s Peacocks 59-45 in Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference matinee action at the Koessler Athletic Center on Sunday.
After losing three of four all by single digits, the Griffs look to be catching their stride at the right time with a weekend sweep and four wins in five games.
“The old adage, you want to be playing your best basketball…,” head coach Tom Parrotta commented. “I thought we’ve kind of really labored to a couple of different points, but I do like the direction this is going. This was clearly another step in the right direction.”
The Griffs opened the game with an 11-0 run and closed it on a 13-5 string. In between, the blue and gold defense suffocated St. Peter’s.
Frazier found Belardo along the baseline on a flex cut and the Griffs led 2-0.
Two possessions later, Greg Logins stepped out from the block to set a ball screen for Julius Coles on the right perimeter. As the Peacock defender adjusted to the screen, Coles drilled a three.
Coles grabbed a defensive rebound at the other end, and busted it up the court in transition where he led Belardo to an open spot for another three-ball.
The Peacocks took advantage of 9-of-16 shooting from the free throw line to outscore the Griffs 18-14 for the remainder of the half.
Canisius opened the second stanza with a set play. Greg Logins relocated the ball from the right post to Coles who weaved his through the defense and finished with his left.
St. Peter’s responded with a basket.
Alshwan Hymes fed Frazier in the post and Canisius led 29-20.
Tomas Vazquez-Simmons broke snapped a 7-0 Peacock run with his first shot of the game – a three from the right corner.
Frazier followed with a jump hook from the right baseline.
Hymes hit a catch and shoot three from the right corner, and Canisius led by ten, 37-27.
But the second-place Peacocks would not go away.
Darius Conley finished a lay up on the fast break. Wesley Jenkins came off a ball screen and knocked down a three. Conley struck from 15 feet. Jeron Belin connected on a pair of free throws, and St. Pete’s trailed by three.
The Griffs imposed their will for the remainder of the game.
Greg Logins connected awkwardly with the shot clock about to expire. After one of his shots was blocked out-of-bounds. The griffs ran a play from the baseline. Logins got the ball from 12 feet just outside the paint. Again, his initial shot was blocked, but he regained possession of the ball and directed it toward the basket.
“I just chucked it up there,” Logins said with a smile. “I didn’t even know it was going to go in. It happened to go off the backboard. It was unbelievable.”
The senior forward continued with his “magic senior dust,” as Parrotta called it, hitting another shot just before the horn sounded.
“It was just a couple of seconds left, and I was just trying to get the ball up on the rim. That’s what happened they both went in.”
The Griffs sealed the victory hitting 7-of-8 in the game’s final minute.
Canisius outrebounded St. Peter’s by one 43-42. The Griffs set a school record holding the Peacocks to 22.4 percent from the floor.
“Canisius outplayed us in every facet,” St. Peter’s coach John Dunne commented. “We were settling for a couple of pull-up jumpers when we probably should have been taking the ball to the basket. The good teams find a way. They beat us. They flat-out played harder, tougher. They’re good at home.
Belardo and Logins added 11 and 10 points respectively. Logins, Frazier and Belardo all grabbed seven rebounds.
Frazier finished with zero points and five rebounds when the Griffs lost at St. Peter’s on January 3rd by a score of 63-55.
Reggie Groves had a game-high five assists.
Jenkins and Belin led St. Peter’s with 11 points. Belin and Ryan Bacon each had nine boards.
The Griffs played their third game without senior Robert Goldsberry who was hit in the head during the Niagara game on January 28th.
Canisius improves to 6-7 in the MAAC and sits just one game out of sixth. The top six teams earn a first-round bye in the upcoming MAAC tournament. The Griffs travel to Rider on Friday.