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Griffs lose control against Broncs on Canisius’ Senior Day

blog by Spencer Trotman  • 

As the regular season drew to a close with a heartbreaking loss—the Canisius Griffins will have to regroup before entering the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament. The Rider Broncs were sneaky in their come-from-behind win—quietly dominating all aspects of the game down the stretch.

The Broncs trailed most of the game, capturing their first lead with 15 seconds left in the second half. Unlikely hero freshman Zedric Sadler hit a clutch 3-pointer to seal the victory. Rider’s pressure defense and rebounding led them back into the game, and the visitors’ won 65-61.

“You have to play to win the game,  when you play against good teams you can’t come up with nothing—getting out-rebounded and not defending. Now you have to depend on making big shots and big plays” coach Jim Baron said calmly and clearly frustrated.

Rider was able to contain key Canisius players. Big men Chis Manhertz and Jordan Heath attempted a combined three shots. Billy Baron had a slow first-half struggling to get off his shots.

Rider head coach Kevin Baggett said, “It was tough for Baron to get his shots tonight, I think when you take him out of rhythm, then you take their team out of rhythm.”

“It’s awful losing, especially when you have control of the game,” Baron said. “I had a feeling we were going to pull that one out.”

Billy Baron, Isaac Sosa and Harold Washington each ended the game with 14 points apiece. Senior guard Alshwan Hymes dropped his 1,000th career point, scoring six on the night.

The next stop is for the Griffs to gear up for the MAAC tournament. They came into this season as underdogs, and they plan much success throughout the tournament.

“We control our destiny. I told our guys we had a heck of a year, they picked us ninth [in the pre-season] now we’re 4th [in the conference] so we surpassed expectations, and our guys have nothing to put their heads down,” Jim Baron said. “As we go into the tournament, we have to keep doing a better job at rebounding, defending and, on the offensive end, we have to keep executing.

This year the MAAC is tight and the championship is up for grabs. The final standings came down to the last day of the regular season. Baron said, “It’s really unbelievably balanced because everyone is beating up on each other.”

Despite the loss, Harold Washington doesn’t see this game as a set-back. “The hole shrunk on us mentality—we just couldn’t put it down. We just got to get back in the gym and gets some shots up. From top to bottom the league is pretty close, but if we come out to play, we could compete on any level—pretty much pull it out, I have 100 percent confidence in our ability to do something special in this tournament.”

With the loss to Rider, the Griffs (18-12) slip to fourth seed in the MAAC. Canisius will play fifth seed Iona (17-13) on Saturday to start off the MAAC Tournament in Springfield, Mass.

(Header photo courtesy of Robin David Brown from Canisius vs. Niagara game—full gallery here).

TAGGED: billy baron, canisius griffins, jim baron, maac basketball, maac tournament, rider broncs, zedric sadler

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