Courtesy of GoGriffs.com
BRIDGEPORT, CONN. – The Canisius men’s basketball team scored 51 second-half points and senior Chris Manhertz recorded his 12th career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Golden Griffins cruised past Fairfield with an 84-58 win Saturday afternoon in Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. The win is Canisius’ fourth-straight and improved the team to 16-7 overall and 10-2 in MAAC play, while the Stags fell to 4-18 overall and 1-10 in MAAC action. The win gives Canisius a half-game lead over Iona atop the MAAC standings.
Manhertz was one of four Griffs to record double-figures in the scoring column on Saturday after he went 4-for-4 from the field and 6-for-8 from the free-throw line to go with 10 rebounds, seven of which came off the defensive glass. Senior guard Billy Baron had 17 points and a game-high four steals, while redshirt sophomore Dominique Raney came off the bench and provided the Blue and Gold with a scoring spark, as he posted 15 points (11 in the second half) in 26 minutes. Freshman Zach Lewis provided 11 points to the Griffs’ winning effort as Canisius finished the day shooting 43.5 percent from the field and 78.1 percent from the free-throw line in the victory.
“This was a great team win, and it comes after we had a battle at Quinnipiac on Thursday,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. “We started off a little slow, but the guys kept to our game plan and I thought our pressure, especially in the second half, really forced their young guards to make mistakes. Chris Manhertz was a beast today. He is a match-up problem for Fairfield and he went to work at both ends of the floor. I’m proud of the effort we got from everyone today.”
The host Stags jumped out to an early 7-0 lead before the Griffs’ scored their first points of the day on a lay-up by Lewis 2:09 into the game. Midway through the first half, Fairfield held a 17-15 lead, but a jumper by Raney from the right wing tied the game at 17-17 with 8:33 left before the half. After the Stags went empty at on their next possession, Canisius took the lead for the first time, a lead they would not give up the rest of the day, when Lewis drained a 3-pointer with 8:02 left before the half to make the score 20-17. The Griffs went into the locker room at the break leading 33-29 despite shooting 38.7 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from 3-point range in the contest’s opening stanza.
In the second half, Canisius jumped Fairfield early, out scoring the Stags 10-2 in the first 4:51 of the half to take a 12-point lead at 43-31. Manhertz scored the first eight points of the second frame for Canisius and a jumper by Lewis put the Blue and Gold up by a dozen with 15:09 left to play. Fairfield was able to trim the Griffs’ hold to 48-36 with 11:45 left to play, but a 10-2 run for the Blue and Gold over the game’s next 1:12 gave Canisius a 20-point lead at 58-38 with 10:22 left on the clock.
The Griffs led by as many as 30 points in the game after Raney connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:05 left to play. In the second half, Canisius shot 48.4 percent from the field and turned 12 Fairfield turnovers into 16 points. The Stags ended the game by shooting 33.3 percent from the field, 24.3 percent from 3-point range and just 38.5 percent from the free-throw line. Fairfield has 19 turnovers in the loss and each team pulled down 44 rebounds for the contest.
Canisius will return to action next weekend with a pair of home games, starting Friday, Feb. 7, when the Griffs play host to Manhattan in the Koessler Athletic Center. That game will be broadcast live on ESPNU, with tipoff set for 7 p.m. All fans will receive a “Gold Rush” T-shirt as the Griffs turn the Koessler Athletic Center gold for the program’s first nationally-televised home game since 2010-11.
Game Notes: This was the 76th all-time meeting between these two Jesuit schools, with Fairfield holding a 44-32 lead in the series… After dropping nine straight to Fairfield, Canisius has taken two of the last three meetings… This is the team’s first four-game winning streak since 2006-07… The Griffs’ 26-point road win is the largest road conference victory in school history… Canisius has now won back-to-back MAAC road games by double-digits for the first time since the 1996-97 season… The Blue and Gold is 10-2 in MAAC play for the first time since joining the conference before the 1989-90 academic year… The team’s 44 rebounds are the most for the team this season – the previous high was 43 boards in the season opening win over South Dakota… Of Manhertz’s 12 career double-doubles, five have been against Fairfield… Baron’s 17 points are the fewest for the senior guard since Dec. 21, when he had 16 points in a home win over Lamar… Baron led the team in assists with three, the 44th time in his career he’s been the Griffs’ leader in assists… Senior Jordan Heath had nine points and his younger brother Josiah Heath, chipped in six points for the Blue and Gold… Canisius had all nine players score at least two points for the second consecutive game.