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Washington leads way for Griffs on opening trip

blog by The Canisius Griffin  • 

Harold Washington is going to fit in just fine.

Through the first three games of the season, the junior transfer from Cecil College is leading the men’s basketball team in scoring at 21 points per game.

The 6-foot-1 guard led the team with 23 points in the season opener – an 82-73 loss at James Madison – and gave an encore performance two nights later when he dropped 30 in the Griffs’ 87-83 victory over Longwood.

Washington was held to just 10 points last night against UNLV in Las Vegas, but after averaging only 13 points per game last year in JUCO, he’s quickly found the touch at the D-I level.

“In junior college, we just roll the balls out and play,” Washington said. “Here you have a lot more to learn. This team is more structured, more together. We work hard.”

The Griffs held a three-point lead at halftime against James Madison last Sunday in Harrisonburg, Va. but were outplayed in the second half and lost by nine points. Coach Tom Parrotta’s teams were 45-18 when leading at halftime heading into the game.

Humpty Hitchens led the charge on offense for a James Madison team that went 21-12 last season, going 9 of 15 from the field for 26 points. Sophomore Chris Manhertz hit 7 of 11 shots for Canisius to finish with a career-high 16 points and also added three blocks.

The Griffs traveled two hours across the state to Farmville, Va. for a Tuesday night game against Longwood University, a Division I independent that went 12-19 last year.

Canisius led by as many as 13 points early but allowed the Lancers to come back and even the score at 38 in the first half. The Griffs led by one at the break and couldn’t put Longwood away in the second half, even briefly squandering the lead. Down 73-71 with four minutes to play, Washington took over for Canisius, netting 10 straight points for the Griffs to put his new team back in front. Manhertz hit four big free throws in the last 30 seconds to hold on for the win.

The Griffs then flew out to Las Vegas for a Thursday night game with UNLV, an NCAA Tournament team from last season that went 24-9 overall.

Canisius trailed by 10 early before storming back for a 21-20 lead, capped by a Gaby Belardo 3-pointer. That lead, which lasted all of 21 seconds, would be the high point on the night for the Griffs – UNLV would outscore Canisius 75-49 the rest of the way and go on to win 95-70.

“[Rebels] go up 30 on 3-ball and Canisius coach scowls and spins like it’s a 6 pt game. I guess I like the passion,” Sports Director of CBS Affiliate KLAS in Las Vegas, Chris Maathuis, tweeted during the game. 

Eleven of 12 Canisius players got into the game. Alshwan Hymes led the Griffs with 16 points, all 3-pointers, and Reggie Groves had a career-best 14 points. Belardo had a rough night, shooting just 3 of 8 from the field and committing seven turnovers.  Forward Mike Moser led all players with 19 points for UNLV, which improved to 3-0 on the year.

Canisius will return home this weekend before traveling to UB North campus for a game against Buffalo at Alumni Arena on Tuesday night.

The Griffs got behind early and never caught up in last year’s meeting with the Bulls at the Koessler Athletic Center.

UB is 2-0 on the season, including a seven-point win over reigning MAAC Champion Saint Peter’s on Nov. 11.

By Nick Veronica
The Griffin

TAGGED: canisius griffins, harold washington, hoops, maac, nick veronica

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