Canisius 94, Rider 91 2OT
How Canisius Won: By finding an incredible offensive chemistry and making threes at a rate that matched the competition. The Griffs shot 54.7 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc against a Rider team that's eighth nationally in three-point shooting percentage and cashed of 10 of 24 (41.7 percent) from afar. And it helped that Billy Baron forced the second OT with a conventional three-point play with 10.6 seconds left and nailed the decisive three just before the buzzer.
Player of the Game: At least for now Baron's 50th game as a Griff stands as his signature performance and the most compelling reason why he'll gain induction to the Canisius Hall of Fame with just two seasons of work. It wasn't just that he scored a career-high 38 points with 32 coming after halftime and 11 coming in the second overtime. He wasn't just that he tied the game at the end of the first OT with one of his trademark drives good for a three-point play. It wasn't just that he either scored or assisted on 23 of the final 25 Griff points in regulation. It was all those things and the fact he was 11 of 19 from the field, 12 of 13 from the line, and went for seven rebounds and seven assists. Might as well also mention he played 48 of the 50 minutes.
Best Supporting Role: Someone tweeted that Jordan Heath's playing like UB's Mitchell Watt did late in his senior season. I can see it. The Griffs center has added a nastiness to his inside game. The 17 points were big. The school-record nine blocks were out of this world.
Best Player Losing Effort: In most any game in the MAAC Anthony Myles would have been the best player on the floor. He had a career-high 30 points and hit the corner three that appeared destined to force a third OT before Baron struck. And he works both ends. Really nice player.
And They're Just Rookies: Freshman Zach Lewis made his first career start and scored 12 points while playing 46 minutes. His two threes were integral to the comeback after Canisius fell behind nine with 10:20 remaining. Meanwhile, freshman Phil Valenti came off the bench for a foul-plagued Chris Manhertz and went for 12 points and a game-high nine points in 34 minutes. They were huge contributors.
The Last Time: Canisius last played a double overtime game on Dec. 16, 2009 at Duquesne.
Stat Check:Rider shot 60 percent from the floor in the OTs -- and lost. Because Canisius shot 72.7 percent.
Just Wondering: If this is the lowest combined rebounding total for a double OT game in the shot clock era. There were just 57, 31 of them by Canisius.
Moving On Up: This was career win No. 419 for Canisius coach Jim Baron, tying him with former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps on the all-time list. Baron was an assistant under Phelps.
What It Means: The Griffs improved to 10-5 overall and retained a share of the conference lead at 4-1. Rider slipped to 7-7, 3-2.
In the House: The question is, How many will say they were there the night Baron poured in 38? Only 1,226 can be believed.
Next Up: The Griffs host Monmouth at 2 Sunday afternoon while Rider heads over the bridge to Niagara for a 2 o'clock start at Taps.
-- Bob DiCesare
taggedCanisius | College basketball | Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference