Evansville 84, Canisius 83
How Evansville Won: The Purple Aces were in trouble down nine at intermission but opened the second half with a run and then rode the exploits of a finalist for mid-major player of the year. Porous defense tormented the Griffs in the MAAC semifinals and it was the same here. Evansville shot 60 percent in the second half.
Player of the Game: The best Canisius season in more than a decade has come to a close. But there are worse things than saying you were done in by Colt Ryan. The 6-5 senior guard was unstoppable, scoring 39 points on 11 of 22 from the field (5 of 9 on 3s) and 12 of 15 from the line. He also had a team-high six boards. And played 38 minutes. And never looked the worse for wear. Even the most ardent Griffs fan would have to admit he was a treat to watch.
Best Player (Losing Effort): Billy Baron struck for 21 points to finish the season with 584. That's the highest total for a Griff since Ray Hall in 1984-85 and the most points by a Canisius junior since Hall the previous season.
Another Go?: Reggie Groves was honored on Senior Night a couple weeks back but he still has a year of eligibility remaining. Hard to imagine he wouldn't come in handy next year, especially with the graduation losses the Griffs will sustain in the backcourt. Groves had seven points and six assists against two turnovers in 26 minutes. Harold Washington's foul trouble forced him into extended action.
Stat Check: This was the seventh time the Griffs scored at least 74 points and lost.
Stat Check II: Evansville scored 23 points off 16 Canisius turnovers. All nine Griffs who played committed at least one.
Seasonal: Chris Manhertz had six boards, pushing his season total to 297, seventh on the school single-season list . . . Isaac Sosa two treys pushed his school season-season record to 95 . . . With three blocks Jordan Heath went to 53, sixth most in a season.
In the House: 1,403 were on hand but it seemed like more. And the crowd was into it. Yup. After that looooong dry spell the Griffs matter again.
Canisius coach Jim Baron: "Down the stretch here (we were) playing against all good teams. This team beat Wichita State and you see them in the Sweet Sixteen right now. You can see why they beat Wichita State. You got to give them credit. They made their shots they made their plays they made their free throws and we have to play a flawless game to beat them."
Evansville coach Marty Simmons and if he's seen Ryan take over a game in that fashion: "I have. I mean I have. . . . I knowwe played Bradley last year at home and Creighton last year at Creighton he got on a roll like that. But he's been pretty consistent really for four years."
Simmons on Billy Baron: "He's a great player in transition. He really knows how to push it. He's really good off ball screens. . . . He's got great hesitation. He's got a quick first step. His knowledge of the game is tremendous."
Recapping: Canisius finished 20-14, a 15-win improvement over last season.
-- Bob DiCesare
taggedCanisius | College basketball | Mid-Majors