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Canisius Griffins vs. Fairfield Stags - LIVE BLOG

blog by Ben Tsujimoto  • 

Final—66-45, Fairfield. A forgettable night for Canisius, one the Griffs will want to erase from their collective memory bank before Saturday’s clash against Marist.

1:09 —Josiah Heath taps in a miss of a Washington lob to Edwards, and 44 ticks remain in this one—it’s 66-40 Fairfield. Jenkins’ pull-up over Asprilla is no good, and Reggie Groves drains a deep three from the right wing, and the Griffs dodge the team-low points total. Josiah Heath rolls down the floor, dribbling awkwardly and scores off the glass. A loud f-bomb from Josiah Heath as he walks off the court.

1:57—63-36 Fairfield now, though Tyrel Edwards ignites the remainder of the crowd with a downright nasty tomahawk jam. Keith Matthews dribbles into Josiah Heath, banks a runner and draws a foul. Canisius’ record-low point total at Koessler was against Niagara on Feb. 12, 2009, where the Griffs fell 57-41. Canisius is at 38 points with 1:25 left.

4:02—Josiah Heath connects with the arm of Justin Jenkins on his way to the basket, and the Koessler Center crowd grabs its scarves and jackets and heads to the exits. A sad exhibition tonight, and Canisius will fall to 2-1 in MAAC play. A terrific defensive effort for Fairfield, as the Stags have put on a tremendous display of perimeter defense, closing out on shots, contesting everything, and refusing to give the Canisius outside shooters any breathing room. Frustration crept in quickly for Baron’s crew, and this game was over by halftime. Expect sporadic updates the rest of the way.

4:14—Nice wrap-around pass baseline by Barrow to Mikulic, who knocks in the uncontested weak-side lay-in. Asprilla and Tyrel Edwards are set to enter for Canisius, and Baron will shoot two from the stripe after Nickerson’s fourth foul. The first is good, and it’s 57-35. Baron has 13 points on the evening, now 14 after he nails his second.

5:37—Mikulic and Baron trade buckets, as Mikulic inexplicably beat the Griffs down the floor, while Baron’s patience paid off as he beat Mikulic to the window at the other end. Derek Needham’s deep three is on line, but it doesn’t drop—air-ball at the shot clock buzzer.

5:59—A little out of his element, Josiah Heath rattles in a 10-footer from the left wing. Timeout on the floor, it’s 53-32 Stags. Niagara leads Marist 84-55 in other Big 4 action.

6:23—Clever move to spin away from pressure by Barrow, who’s hammered by Chris Manhertz, who earns his fourth foul. Josiah Heath enters for Manhertz, who again earns a round of applause for his effort. Barrow is short on his first shot, but drills the second—he has 21 for the game.

7:35—After Nickerson misses the front end of the one and one, Baron answers with a deep, contested three. That’s good! Sosa’s high arc-er is no good after a Wade miss, and there’s a foul on Sosa after he missed the fade-away three. Nickerson heads to the line for two, as the Stags are in the double-bonus. His first free throw won’t drop, and Needham returns to the floor replacing Jenkins. Second is good, and it’s 52-30. Baron’s fall-away three from the left corner is off the back rim, and Fairfield slows down the pace and runs clock.

7:54Under eight timeout, 51-27 Fairfield. Canisius has simply laid an egg tonight, as this game has become increasingly unwatchable. Fairfield’s defense, especially on the perimeter is smothering, and turnovers and sloppy play have cost the Griffs dearly.

7:54—Matthews gets away with a travel as he slid on the floor, and Baron’s cross-court pass to Groves leads to a missed three, and Sosa coughs up the ensuing rebound. We’re at the under eight break.

8:58—Heath hits one of two from the line, that’s 11-20 as a team. Shot clock violation on Fairfield, and Manhertz returns for Washington. The Stags play six freshmen in their rotation, and all of them bring something to the table—in most cases, athleticism. Manhertz uses a dropstep to draw a foul on Keith Matthews, his fourth foul. With Sidibe’s ejection, the Stags are getting thin in the frontcourt, and Mikulic checks back in. One of two from the line for Manhertz.

9:34—Groves is bodied by Barrow after a helpless drive, and there’s no foul—and there shouldn’t have been one called, as that was just good defense. Matthews gets away with a walk, and he blows the lay-up, except Heath is there to clean-up the mess and draw Needham’s third foul. 51-25 Stags.

10:17 —Manhertz misses the front end of the one and one, and the Griffs are shooting just over 50% from the line tonight. Matthews barrels into the lane and accidentally hits Manhertz in the mouth with an elbow, and salt’s rubbed into the wound as Manhertz picks up his third. Jordan Heath enters for Manhertz, who earns applause from the fans for his effort. Matthews misses two, but Washington can’t snatch the rebound and Needham comes away with it. Spin by Barrow into Groves—who topples to the court—and a foul is called on him, too. Three fouls on Groves.

11:20—Even some of the Dance Griffs may have left, as there are only seven in action tonight. Groves, Washington, Baron, Manhertz, and Sosa on the floor for CC. Jenkins, Gilbert, Needham, Mikulic and Barrow for the Stags. Harold sinks the first from the line, but the second doesn’t drop. Mikulic is errant on another three, and Manhertz tracks down the board. Sosa gets a wide open look from the right wing after a drive and kick by Groves, and the sharp-shooter’s three is off target again. It’s not Canisius’ night for the floor, and you could argue that they were due for an off-night.

11:20—Under 12 timeout, 49-24 Fairfield. This is a full-out disaster. Fans are already heading for the exits, a little disappointed in Canisius’ showing tonight. One of them is Buffalo.com boss Ben Kirst, who clearly wasn’t thrilled with tonight’s tilt.

12:42—Drive and dish after a pump-fake by Needham, who finds Johnson down low. He’s fouled on the floor, however, and Fairfield keeps it. Nice chest pass from Coleman Johnson to Barrow, who misses a three. Isaac Sosa has his three blocked by 5’8 Desmond Wade, then Wade blows a finger roll at the other end. Baron sprints down the floor and draws a foul on Mikulic—Baron drills the first but uncharacteristically misses the second. Rims have been tight for CC tonight. Washington doesn’t close out Needham, who gladly steps into a 24-footer—that’s good! 49-24 Fairfield.

13:34—Harold Washington loses his dribble twice, recovers, then steps on the baseline for a turnover. He’s been erratic over his last two games, and it could be he’s still suffering from a heel injury picked up in practice. He looks spry, however, just inefficient. Sosa trips up Wade, who had beaten the Central Florida transfer with one lightning-quick move. Jordan Heath is subbed out for Reggie Groves.

13:50—Manhertz is lured out of the paint to help on a ball-screen, and Mikulic finds himself wide open underneath for a free rebound. Manhertz recovers to block his shot, but Mikulic hits both from the stripe, which is shocking since he’s been meters off on his three-point shots. A missed three from Jordan Heath is rebounded by a leaping Manhertz, and Coleman Johnson is whistled for a foul away from the ball, bailing out Canisius on what could have been a second five-second violation of the half.

14:37 —Washington tries a high lob to Heath, but it’s intercepted by Barrow, who starts the break to Needham—who has a clear path lay-up. Too easy for Fairfield, and it’s 44-23, Fairfield’s biggest lead. Nickerson is called for a reach after Baron sliced through a double team, but the foul is on the floor. Coleman Johnson enters the fray for the Stags. Manhertz forgets to put the ball down when he starts his drive down the lane—a travel, and another exasperating turnover.

14:58—Under 16 timeout on the floor, it’s 42-23 Fairfield. The Stags lose their starting center because of an ejection—a Flagrant-2 elbow—but Sidibe’s absence shouldn’t have too adverse of an effect on Johnson’s squad. Barrow continues his exceptional play—I haven’t seen a player give Jordan Heath this much trouble all year long. Needham’s facilitation certainly makes life easier for Barrow, but the junior sixth man has been scintillating tonight.

16:03—Loose ball foul on Chris Manhertz, who clocked Needham in the nose on a loose ball. Manhertz is gripping his face, and Needham is doing the same. Tough runner diagonally across the lane by Barrow, and he’s really smooth tonight. Manhertz dribbles by Mikulic like he’s a pylon, but the run-out by Fairfield leads to an easy lay-up for Barrow, who beat Heath down the floor. 18 for Barrow so far.

16:41—After the world’s most uncomfortable five-minute break to sort out something bizarre and away from the play—this feels like a mini-intermission—Billy Baron will shoot a technical foul, and Amadou Sidibe has been ejected from the game. Baron makes two, and Sidibe sits on the bench in a huff—it’s a Flagrant-2, an automatic ejection for an elbow in the direction of Jordan Heath. A five-second violation is whistled on Canisius, however, and after all this mess, it’s 38-21 Fairfield.

16:41—Checking with Paul Gotham from Pickin’ Splinters, he agrees that Derek Needham has a lot less muscle mass this year than he did last year. Why is this awkward note important? Needham looked a little slower and more clumsy last season, and his percentages reflected that. He’s a lot quicker in 2012-13, however, and that’s made a big difference defensively. The refs are still looking at the monitor, and it’s beginning to get embarrassing for the zebras.

16:41—Offensive foul on Jordan Heath, and the refs are standing in a circle trying to determine the foul. It appears to be an offensive foul, at least, and Heath got in Sidibe’s face after the play. He’s restrained by teammates, and no one is exactly sure what happened. 38-19 Stags.

17:45—Washington nails a fall-away jumper, then forces a steal at the other end. Manhertz tosses up the floor to Harold, who fakes Needham off his feet and draws the point guard’s second personal. Baron spins by Needham and badly misses a floater to the left—Needham careens down the lane and flips a pass to Matthews, who double-dribbles very awkwardly. Needham is straight-up hounding Baron at the beginning of this half.

19:57—A baffling push-off foul on Baron, who glares in the ref’s direction after a ridiculous call. Pick and pop from Needham to Gilbert, and the freshman nails the jumper as the shot clock buzzer sounds. Washington screams down the court and misses a lay-up with no rebounders underneath. Another missed call on Gilbert, who warded off Sosa from recovering a loose ball. Nickerson sails down the left side of the lane and finishes off the glass—38-17 now.

Halftime—Can Canisius recover from its worst half of the season? The deficit isn’t insurmountable, but it’s pretty close. Baron’s club will have to shoot the lights out in the second half and rebound with ferocity if they’re going to respond to getting doubled up in the first 20.

Halftime—Maurice Barrow has a game-high 14 points off the bench for the Stags on 7-10 shooting. He may have an awkward release, but his shots have been falling nonetheless. Out of town scoreboard, Niagara leads Marist 51-30 at halftime.

Halftime —Two stats in particular are glaring advantages for the Stags—Fairfield leads 14-0 in points off turnovers and 20-0 in bench points. Eeeeesh.

Halftime—Canisius closes the half shooting 22.7%, a disastrous 5-22 showing. Chris Manhertz has been the lone offensive force for Canisius, leading the Griffs with eight points and six rebounds—four offensive. Canisius is 1-7 from downtown, while Fairfield is an even worse 1-10. If the Stags were connecting from long-range, this game would be even more of a blowout.

Halftime—The Griffs walk off the court with their heads down, sporting looks of concern as they’re trailing by 17 at the break. The offense hasn’t been able to combat Fairfield’s physicality, and the open looks from outside that have been present all season don’t seem to be there today. The Stags have been smart about taking Cansius’ missed threes and turning them into fast break opportunities, and the Stags’ mid-range game—most notably Barrow and Matthews—has been spot-on.

Halftime—Fairfield 34-17.

1:01—Jordan Heath is slow to close out on Maurice Barrow, who drills an awkward 15-footer from the left wing. Up and under by Groves is no good, and Needham rips down a strong board. Mikulic is off on another three-ball with the shot clock winding down—Manhertz snags the rebound and feeds Sosa for a run-out. Isaac draws a foul on Nickerson, and he’ll shoot two more. Sosa clanks the first free throw, and nothing is going right for the Griffs. The second drops through, however.

1:40—Blocking foul on Harold Washington, who seemed to take Desmond Wade’s drive to the chest. Wade misses the first from the line, however, and Reggie Groves replaces Washington in the lineup for the final 1:40. Wade sinks the second, and it’s an 18-point Fairfield lead. Touch foul on Wade, who hand-checked Sosa on the left sideline. He’ll shoot two from the stripe—first is good. Second drops through too—maybe that’s the confidence booster Sosa needs to return to being a marksman from downtown.

3:02—Barrow nails a long two from almost dead-on, giving him a game-high 12 points. Jordan Heath draws a foul on Barrow after a Manhertz miss, but he only sinks one of two from the line. 28-14, Fairfield is doubling up Canisius. Needham snags the rebound of a Wade three-ball, and Fairfield keeps possession. Johnson’s team is content to run clock, and Desmond Wade careens to the hoop, scores off the glass and draws a foul on Baron. Wade is absurdly quick on the dribble. Free throw swishes through, and it’s 31-14 Fairfield now.

3:49—This is as bad of a half as Baron’s team has played all year. We’ll see the stats at halftime, but it’s ugly from a shooting and a turnover standpoint for the Griffs. Baron sinks one of two from the line, and Fairfield attacks immediately. Wade drives and spins baseline but can’t get a look at the hoop. A kick ball is called, even though it did not appear that anyone kicked it.

4:14—Mikulic badly misses a three for the third time today, and Nickerson hits Barrow on the fast break layup after Billy Baron’s lob hit the front rim and bounced up the floor toward the Canisius basket.

5:24—Strong drive and dump off from Washington to Manhertz, who goes up strong and scores with his left. Jenkins misses a runner for Fairfield, and Canisius has a chance to claw back. Washington drives hard into Mikulic, who fouls the senior with his body. Washington will shoot two from the line—he nails both. 24-13 Stags.

6:56—Canisius has hit double-digits in turnovers already, and we have nearly seven minutes to go in the first half. Barrow’s long jumper is an airball—may have been partially blocked—but Mikulic is Johnny-on-the-spot underneath for the easy lay-in. Alshwan Hymes tries a lob to the weakside, then Wade hits a trailing Barrow for an open 16-footer. That’s good, and it’s 24-9 Stags.

6:56 —Another Canisius turnover before the under eight timeout—it’s getting ugly here. 20-9 Stags. Canisius obviously cannot muster much on offense tonight, as all the usual sources—Baron, Washington and Sosa—have been blanketed by a strong Fairfield backcourt, one that’s more than willing to switch screens to nullify drives into the lane.

8:22—Nickerson bats away Baron’s entry pass and takes off down the floor—unfortunately for him, he takes three steps on his way to the hoop. Travel. Charging foul on Reggie Groves, and it’s well taken by Justin Jenkins. Alshwan Hymes enters for his first action of the game. Barrow slithers to the rim past Sosa, who’s sprained a finger and is wincing and holding it. Bucket’s good for Barrow, who has six of his own. Turnaround hook for Manhertz, and that answers another 9-0 Fairfield run.

9:08 —Nickerson briefly picks Baron’s pocket, but the ball glances off the senior’s foot and out of bounds. Still Canisius ball. Sidibe is forced to foul Manhertz underneath—that’s Sidibe’s second foul, and Josip Mikulic checks in for Sidibe. Mikulic is a 7-foot freshman from Croatia.

9:44—Manhertz returns for Josiah Heath, who only earned a brief spell on the court. Offensive push off on Reggie Groves, but it was definitely more of a flop by Fairfield freshman Amadou Sidibe—Griffs fans are up in arms over that decision. Wade turns the ball over after CC defends the ball screen well.

10:37—Billy Baron’s pass for Asprilla deflects off a defenders hands, but Barrow airballs a 15-footer at the other end—now we’re getting sloppy. Josiah Heath misses a jumper and Barrow collects. Needham sprints down the floor, scoots under the bucket and scores on a right-handed floater off the window. 18-7 Fairfield. Hand-check on Needham—his first foul.

11:18—On the floor for Fairfield—Wade, Gilbert, Sidibe, Barrow and Needham. Asprilla airballs the first free throw and bricks the second. He’s far from smooth from the line. Good defense by Groves on Needham, but good ball movement sends the ball to Gilbert, who draws a foul on Josiah Heath. Gilbert nails the first free throw, and Sosa replaces Washington in the lineup for Canisius. Gilbert’s second free throw is no good, and Groves collects for CC.

11:18—Under 12 timeout, 15-7 Fairfield. Maurice Barrow—a junior forward who comes off the bench despite his wealth of experience—has provided a nice stretch for Johnson replacing Matthews in the lineup.

12:14—11-7 Fairfield, and this game has the potential to become testy. Both teams are experienced and scrappy, but we’ll see who’s tougher in this one. Barrow sneaks out to the left wing and drains a jumper—Freddy Asprilla enters the game but can’t corral a Washington miss—Barrow glides to the bucket through two help defenders and sneaks in a lay-up with his right. Good position inside from Asprilla on the next possession, and he spins to the right and draws a foul—nearly leading to a three-point play.

12:57—Jordan Heath takes a very long two steps to the rim, and it’s deemed a travel by the far official. Errant jumper by Maurice Barrow, and Billy Baron rebounds. The officials are letting everything go, as Baron was bumped hard in the backcourt, and Washington was hacked hard in the corner—no calls from the MAAC refs, and Gilbert saves the ball and signals for a timeout.

13:33—Manhertz with an exceptional close-out on Gilbert, swatting his three-point try and nearly saving the rebound. Desmond Wade, a Fairfield reserve, airballs a three at the shot-clock buzzer. The Griffs are back.

13:45—The energy level has spiked for Canisius after Fairfield’s early run—the Griffins are a lot more aggressive on the glass, and they’re making the extra pass for open looks. Manhertz has been in beast-mode again on the glass, and even though the outside shots aren’t falling, Baron’s club is starting to manufacture hard-earned points.

14:54—Out of the media break, Billy Baron pulls up in Matthews’ face from 23-feet, drains a three and draws the foul. A four-point play would be a nice recipe for getting back into this game. The junior guard will shoot one—it’s no good, but Chris Manhertz swallows up the rebound and finds Washington for an open three—that doesn’t fall, but Washington chases down his own rebound, and eventually finds Manhertz for a bucket. 11-5 after a sharp possession. Heath misses a three from the left corner, but the ball pops out to Baron, who whips an entry pass to Manhertz for an uncontested dunk. Timeout, Stags, and it’s a 7-0 run for Canisius.

15:04—Under 16 timeout, 11-0 Fairfield. The first five minutes have been an utter disaster for the Griffs, who are still scoreless at the first media break. Fairfield’s ball-screen-based offense is lethal so far with Needham at the top and Matthews flaring off the screens. The Stags have earned open looks at will, while everything Canisius has hoisted has been contested.

16:15 —Sosa misses a short floater underneath the bucket—there’s a lot of contact under there—and the ball eludes Jordan Heath and drops out of bounds. Fairfield ball. Needham rims out on a three, but there’s no weak-side rebounding threat for Canisius, and Matthews sticks in the putback. 11-0, and Matthews has six. Baron throws a skip pass to Sosa, who fires a three off the dribble. It’s no good. Fairfield’s Gilbert misses a three from the right corner, and Baron draws a foul on Marcus Gilbert at the other end.

16:479-0 Fairfield, and the Stags pressure has been a nightmare for the Griffs. Canisius does not look ready for the physicality, and the ball movement is a mess. Remember, Canisius turned the ball over 23 times at Detroit.

18:09 —Sidibe, the Fairfield freshman, takes the handoff from Nickerson and misses the jumper. Matthews fouls Manhertz on a loose ball— Canisius ball. Harold Washington is called for a charge into Matthews’ chest, drawing a cheer from the Stags’ bench and approval from Syndey Johnson. Washington continues to pester Needham closely at the other end—off the screen and roll, Needham connects with Matthews, who scores softly off the window from six feet. Long two from Heath is no good, then Sosa is stuffed on the offensive rebound. Fairfield rushes the ball down the floor and Matthews sinks a short jumper—timeout, Baron, whose team has had a rather undesirable start.

19:12—Nickerson drops in the first and the second. Fairfield shows a full-court press, leading 5-0. Chris Manhertz can’t handle the pressure and tosses the ball out of bounds. Keith Matthews stuttersteps in the lane but shuffles his feet, giving the ball back to Canisius. Sosa accidentally throws the ball off Washington’s head from close range, and the Griffs are fortunate to maintain possession off the carom. Sosa misses a deep three and Nickerson starts the run out.

19:52 —Canisius opens in man-to-man as Fairfield wins the tap. Needham curls around the ball-screen and loses Washington—Manhertz doesn’t show hard enough and Needham sinks the 24-foot trey. Quick bucket for the Stags. Turnover on an exchange between Baron and Washington, and Colin Nickerson coasts in, challenges Heath at the rim and draws a foul. He’ll shoot two from the stripe.

Pre-game—The Griffs don their white jerseys and white shirts with yellow trim and blue names. Fairfield is wearing all red uniforms with black trim. Time for tip-off!

Pre-game—Fairfield starts two freshmen, Amadou Sidibe and Marcus Gilbert, alongside veterans Derek Needham, Keith Matthews and Colin Nickerson. The Stags are coached by Sydney Johnson. Canisius trots out Jordan Heath, Harold Washington, Billy Baron, Isaac Sosa and Chris Manhertz, and they’re coached by Jim Baron.

Pre-game—We’re ready for the starting lineups—you’ll be glad to know that Griffins’ star Billy Baron is healthy and will start tonight after suffering a few hard falls against Detroit.

Pre-game—The Griffs thumped both Fairfield and Marist back in early December, when the MAAC began its conference slate much earlier than most other conferences around the nation. For a complete preview of tonight’s game, including insight into Canisius’ close loss to Detroit Sunday, head over to the most recent Tsuj’s Ten.

Pre-game—Canisius returns to Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play tonight against the Fairfield Stags, who stand at 1-1 in the conference. This is more than likely the final time we’ll see Derek Needham in a visiting uniform against Canisius—Griff fans grimace when remembering his role in Frank Turner’s ejection four years ago.

TAGGED: billy baron, canisius college, canisius griffins, college basketball, derek needham, fairfield stags, harold washington, isaac sosa

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