Griffs beat Boston University in season opener

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BUFFALO, NY — Canisius College senior guard Harold Washington scored a game-high 22 points to go with six rebounds and three steals and fellow guard Billy Baron scored 21 points while dishing out a career-high eight assists as the Golden Griffins defeated Boston University 83-75 in the 2012-13 season opener Monday night in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win moves Canisius to 1-0, while the Terriers slipped to 0-2 with the loss.

Washington scored his 22 points after he went 8-for-12 from the field, 3-for-3 from 3-point land and 3-for-5 from the free-throw line for his 10th career game of 20 or more points. Baron added six rebounds and two steals in his first career game as a Griff and senior Alshwan Hymes came off the bench to score 15 points in 21 minutes, powered by three makes from behind the 3-point arc. As a team, Canisius shot 53.6 percent from the field and 52.9 from long range while turning 13 Boston University turnovers into 18 points.

Boston University junior guard D.J. Irving scored 20 points and dished out five assists in the loss, while freshman John Papale chipped in 17 points after he knocked down five 3-point field goals in the contest. Boston University shot 49.1 percent from the field and 48 percent from 3-point land, but Canisius controlled the glass by a 34-30 count, highlighted by 12 offensive rebounds, which produced 16 points.

“This is a great win for us,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. “Boston University is a talented team. They were picked to finish in the top three of their league this year and they won 16 games last year. They have guys who have been tested before. I thought we did a good job sharing the basketball. We had 13 assists tonight, which is good. And we did a really nice job of rebounding the ball. When we needed rebounds, we went and got them.”

The Griffs jumped out to an early 11-2 lead just 3:44 into the contest as Washington scored five of those points. Canisius’ lead hovered around eight points for the better part of the first half before the Terriers chipped away and made the score 23-19 with 7:18 left before the break on a pair of free-throws by Travis Robinson. The Blue and Gold pushed its margin back to double-digits at 12 thanks to an 8-0 run over 2:16, with Washington draining a pair of 3-pointers at the start and at the end of the run to give the Griffs a 31-19 lead with 4:37 left before the halftime intermission. Canisius led by 10 at 38-28 at halftime after the team shot 48.4 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from 3-point land in the game’s opening 20 minutes.

In the second half, Canisius led by as many as 14 midway through the half, but Boston University wouldn’t go away, and a 7-0 Terrier run over a span of 1:20 took Canisius’ lead from 73-63 to just 73-70 with 2:54 left on the clock. After Washington made 1-of-2 from the line to give the Griffs a four-point lead at 74-70, Boston University missed the front-end of a 1-and-1 at their end and Canisius grabbed the board. On the ensuing possession, junior center Jordan Heath was able to grab a rebound off a Canisius miss, one of his five offensive boards on the evening, and put it back into the hoop to give the home team a 76-70 cushion with 1:55 left to play. The Terrier got within six again with 41 seconds left on the clock, but the Griffs were able to hit four-straight free-throws in the game’s closing 31 seconds to seal the victory.

Jordan Heath led all players with seven rebounds and was also credited with two blocked shots while junior Chris Manhertz added six points, six boards and two blocks to the winning effort. Sophomore Josiah Heath chipped in seven points for the Griffs and senior Isaac Sosa was good for five points in his first action in a Canisius uniform.

Canisius will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 17, when the team hosts long-time rival St. Bonaventure in the Koessler Athletic Center. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.

Game Notes: The Griffs have won each of their last two season openers at home, as the team beat St. Bonaventure in the Koessler Athletic Center on opening night of the 2010-11 season… This was the 23rd all-time meeting between Canisius and Boston University and the Terriers now lead the all-time series 14-9… This win by Canisius snapped Boston University’s four-game win streak in the series, which dated back to the 1998-99 campaign… Jim Baron is the first Canisius head coach to win in his debut since Nick Macarchuk’s first team defeated Geneseo to start the 1977-78 season… Billy Baron’s 21 points are the most for a Canisius player in his first game as a Griff since Gaby Belardo had 19 points in his first game as a Griff against St. Bonaventure Nov. 12, 2010… Canisius was charged with 10 turnovers in the season opener, the team’s fewest turnovers in a game since Dec. 28, 2011 against Binghamton.

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