Canisius advances to CIT quarterfinals with 82-59 win at Bowling Green

Photo by Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Photo by Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

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BOWLING GREEN, OHIO – Canisius senior Josiah Heath scored a career-high 23 points, junior Jamal Reynolds had his fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds and senior guard Jeremiah Williams added 16 points, six boards and three steals as the Golden Griffins went on the road and defeated Bowling Green 82-59 in the second round of the 2015 Postseason Tournament in Bowling Green’s Stroh Center Saturday afternoon. The win improves Canisius to 18-14 overall and allows the team to advance to the CIT quarterfinal round for the second time in the last three years, while the Falcons see their season end with a 21-12 overall record.

Canisius, which never trailed in the victory, led by as many 16 points at 22-6 just 7:13 into the contest. Bowling Green was able to make it an 11-point contest with 5:52 left before halftime, but a 6-0 run over the span of 1:58, with all six points coming from Heath, put the Griffs up 36-19 with 3:38 left before intermission. Canisius led 38-25 at the break after the Blue and Gold shot 41.7 percent from the floor, 30.8 percent from 3-point range and 66.7 percent from the free-throw line in the game’s opening 20 minutes.

In the second half, the Falcons were able to trim the Griffs’ lead down to seven at 45-38 just 5:28 into the period, but another Griffs’ scoring run, this time a 16-2 spurt over the span of4:40, pushed Canisius’ cushion to 61-40 with 9:32 left to play, capped by a deep 3-pointer from redshirt-freshman Kassius Robertson. Robertson came off the bench and scored all 14 of his points in the game’s second half. For the contest, Canisius shot 49.2 percent from the field, 40.7 percent from 3-point land and 75 percent from the free-throw line while outscoring Bowling Green 16-2 in fastbreak points.

“This team came in here today focused and ready to go and I’m really proud of their efforts,” Canisius head coach Jim Baron said. “This was a great team victory. We did a great job sharing the basketball and we beat them on the glass. Bowling Green is a good team from a strong league and they’ve been very good in this building. We came in here with the attitude that we’re playing to win, and our guys showed that from the opening tip.”

Heath scored his career-high 23 points after he went 10-for-15 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line while also recording seven rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and two steals. Reynolds’ double-double effort, his third in the team’s last three games, also included an assist and two steals and Robertson was credited with two boards, an assist and a steal in 20 minutes of action. Sophomore Zach Lewis had six points and a career-high eight assists in the win for the Blue and Gold while fellow sophomore Phil Valenti added five points, three assists and two rebounds in his third game back from injury.

Bowling Green, which advanced to the CIT second round by defeating St. Francis University March 17, was led by guard Jehvon Clarke, who had a team-high 17 points. The Falcons shot 33.9 percent from the floor, 20.8 percent from 3-point land and ended up turning the ball over 11 times, which Canisius turned into 14 points.

Canisius will wait to learn of its quarterfinal opponent, game date and game location. The second round of the CIT runs through Monday, March 23.

Game Notes: This was the 15th all-time meeting between these two schools, with Bowling Green holding a 9-6 advantage in the series… This was the first national postseason game between the two schools… Canisius improved to 2-0 all-time in the CIT second round… The 23-point victory is the program’s largest margin of victory in a postseason game in school history… The Griffs have now held 17 opponents to 60-or fewer points this season… The Griffs’ 11 makes from 3-point land in the win marks the 32nd time under Baron where the team has knocked down 10-or more treys in a game… Canisius has scored 38 points in the paint in three of the team’s last four outings… Williams has recorded double-figures in the scoring column in every Canisius game since Feb. 15, a span of seven-straight contests… Lewis’ two makes from 3-point land in the win moves him into ninth on the school’s career 3-point field goal list with 138… Saturday was the 100th game for Baron as the head coach of the Griffs, where he’s 59-41 overall.

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