Canisius takes down Temple

Billy Baron scored a game-high 19 points. (Photo courtesy of Canisius Athletics)
Billy Baron scored a game-high 19 points. (Photo courtesy of Canisius Athletics)

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PHILADELPHIA – The visiting Canisius College Golden Griffins shot 48 percent from the field, 58.3 percent from 3-point range and 92.9 percent from the free-throw line in the game’s final 20 minutes while outscoring the host Temple Owls by a 44-26 clip en route to a 72-62 victory Wednesday night in the Chevrolet Gotham Classic at The Liacouras Center. The win moves Canisius to 8-2 on the year, while the Owls slipped to 8-2 in 2012-13.

Junior guard Billy Baron scored a game-high 19 points to lead four Canisius players in double figures while dishing out five assists. Senior Isaac Sosa added 13 points, with 10 of those points coming in the second half, while senior Harold Washington and junior Reggie Groves chipped in 12 points apiece for the Blue and Gold, as the program picked up its first win over Temple in five tries, dating back to the 1943-44 season. Canisius drained 10 3-point field goals in the win on Wednesday night, with seven coming after intermission and the Griffs ended the contest with a 41-35 advantage on the glass, as junior Chris Manhertz (13 rebounds) and sophomore Josiah Heath (11 rebounds) tallied 24 of the team’s 41 boards.

“We stayed aggressive throughout the game on defense and we did a great job making the extra pass on offense to find the open man,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. “Temple is a really good team. They’re going to win a lot of games this year. I think when we went with four guards midway through the second half, we screwed them up a bit and that allowed us to take them off the dribble and move the ball to open shooters. We also did a good job rebounding again and that took away any chances for them to get second-chance points. This is another solid win for this program.”

Canisius trailed Temple by eight points at 42-34 with 17:10 left in the game, but Sosa cut that cushion to five points with one of his three second-half 3-pointers on Canisius’s next trip down the floor to make the score 42-37. After Baron hit a pair of free-throws to make the score 42-39, Sosa drove to the basket and laid one off the glass to make it a one-point game at 42-41 with 14:25 left. After the Owls went down the court and came up empty, Sosa gave the Blue and Gold the lead when he knocked down a jumper from 15-feet to put the Griffs up 43-42 with 13:52 left on the clock.

Temple scored the game’s next five points to regain the lead at 47-43 with 12:54 left to play, but a bucket by senior Freddy Asprilla and a 3-pointer by senior Alshwan Hymes gave the Griffs the lead back at 48-47 with 11:09 left. Groves hit three 3-point field goals over the game’s next 1:50 to give Canisius a 57-51 hold, but the Owls rallied back and took a 58-57 lead with 5:59 left to play on a dunk by Anthony Lee. That basket would be Temple’s last field goal for the next 3:41, as the Blue and Gold outscored the Owls by a 7-0 clip to take a 64-58 lead with 2:43 left to play. Canisius sealed the win at the charity stripe when the team went 8-for-8 from the line in the game’s final 90 seconds, with Baron going 4-for-4 along with Hymes and Manhertz each sinking a pair.

Temple guard Khalif Wyatt scored a team-high 17 points for Temple while Jake O’Brien came off the bench and added 14 points in 15 minutes of action. In the second half, the Owls shot 25 percent from the field, 12.5 percent from 3-point land and 57.1 percent from the free-throw line.

Manhertz added five points to his game-high 13 rebounds, of which, 11 came off the defensive glass. He was also credited with four blocked shots, which matches a career high. Groves’ four makes from 3-point land is a new career high for the junior, and he also tallied two assists and a steal in the victory.

Canisius will return to action Saturday, Dec. 22, when the squad plays at No. 21 UNLV in Las Vegas. Tipoff in the Thomas & Mack Center is set for 10 p.m., Eastern time.

Game Notes: This was the fifth all-time meeting between these two schools, with Temple now leading the series 4-1… The win over the Owls marks Canisius’s first win over an Atlantic 10 school, other than St. Bonaventure, since the team defeated Duquesne 88-71 during the 1998-99 season… The victory also marked the Griffs’ first win over a member of Philadelphia’s famed Big 5 (La Salle, Penn, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Villanova) since the team beat Penn in the first game of the 1994-95 Preseason NIT… Canisius has made 61 3-pointers in the last five games… Washington now has scored in double figures in 33 of his 40 career games as a Canisius player… Baron has five or more assists in seven contests this season… Heath’s 11 rebounds are a season high… Manhertz is now averaging 11.2 rebounds per game in the Griffs’ last six contests… The Griffs were without the services of junior center Jordan Heath for the second-straight game… He has an ankle injury and is listed as day-to-day.

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