LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. – Canisius junior Jordan Heath recorded his first career double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds and the Golden Griffin defense held Rider to 32 percent from the field for the game as the Blue and Gold went on the road and defeated the host Broncs 67-50 Friday night in Alumni Gymnasium. The win, Canisius’ third straight, improved the team to 13-7 overall and 6-3 in MAAC play, while Rider saw its five-game winning streak come to an end with the loss, as the Broncs slipped to 11-10 overall and 6-3 in league play.
Jordan Heath’s 17 points and 13 rebounds both stand as career highs for the junior center, who went 7-for-12 from the field and 3-for-7 from 3-point land while also dishing out two assists and collecting two steals. Fellow junior Billy Baron had 17 points and nine rebounds in the win for the Griffs, while senior Isaac Sosa and junior Chris Manhertz chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively. For the game, Canisius shot 49.1 percent from the field, highlighted by a 16-for-26 (61.5 percent) effort in the second half. The Griffs dominated the rebounding battle as well, as the Blue and Gold ended the night with a 42-22 advantage on the glass while outscoring Rider 22-6 in second-chance points.
“This was another great defensive effort by the guys tonight,” Canisius head coach Jim Baronsaid. “We locked in on what we needed to do defensively and we really dominated them on the boards with our 42-22 rebound margin. I think this was definitely Jordan Heath’s best all-around game tonight. It was a good win for us on the road, now we need to get some rest and get ready for a big game at home against Niagara.”
The Griffs led by the score of 27-24 at halftime, but broke the game open with a 13-4 run in the first 4:00 of the second half that gave Canisius a 40-28 lead. In that scoring run, nine of the Blue and Gold’s 13 points came from 3-point land, and a triple from the top of the key by Jordan Heath with 16:00 left on the clock forced a Rider timeout as the Griffs took a 12-point lead. Canisius pushed its cushion to 16 points out of the timeout after senior Alshwan Hymes and Baron scored on lay-ups to make the score 44-28 with 14:15 left on the clock.
Canisius’ lead hovered around 15-plus points for a majority of the second half before a 3-pointer by Heath from the top of the key with 5:51 left on the clock put the Griffs up 19 at 56-37. Rider wasn’t able to cut the Griffs’ margin to fewer than 14 points in the game’s final 12:20. The Broncs went 16-for-50 from the field on the night, making eight shots in each of the game’s two periods. Rider did score 21 points off 20 Canisius turnovers, but the Blue and Gold ended the night with a 30-14 advantage on points scored in the paint.
Rider junior guard Tommy Pereira scored a team-high 11 points in the loss for the Broncs, with all 11 of his points coming in the first half. Anthony Myles, Rider’s leading scorer, had seven points and three rebounds while Junior Fortunat and Dera Nd-Ezuma had four rebounds apiece.
Canisius will return to Buffalo on Sunday, Jan. 27, when the team plays host to long-time rival Niagara in the Koessler Athletic Center. The game is sold out, and will tipoff at 4 p.m. Sunday’s game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
Game Notes: This was the 37th all-time meeting between these two schools, with Rider leading the series 29-8… The win at Rider’s Alumni Gymnasium marks Canisius’ second all-time road win over the Broncs in this series, which dates back to 1930… Canisius has held its last three opponents (Manhattan, Siena and Rider) to a combined average of 51.3 points per game… In those three games, Canisius’ defense has held teams to 34.5 percent from the field… The Griffs are 13-4 when shooting better than 40 percent from the floor in a game… This is Canisius’ first three-game MAAC winning streak in the month of January since the 2006-07 campaign when the team won five in a row from Jan. 13-29… Heath is the third Canisius player to record a double-double this season, joining Baron and Manhertz… Heath is shooting 56.3 percent from the field in the Griffs’ last six games… Baron’s nine rebounds is a new career high for the junior guard… Hymes matched a season-high with 25 minutes played and his 3-point field goal in the second half gives him 194 in his career, leaving him six treys shy of becoming the second player in school history to hit 200 career 3-point field goals.