Billy Baron scored a career-high 30 points but it couldn’t offset the balanced scoring by No. 21 UNLV as the Runnin’ Rebels defeated Canisius College, 89-74, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
UNLV’s Anthony Bennett led five Runnin’ Rebels in double figures with 21 points, while Khem Birch came off the bench to score 20. Harold Washington added 17 points for the Golden Griffins (8-3), while Baron had six assists.
Canisius trailed, 46-39, at the half but ended the game’s first 20 minutes on a high note with Alshwan Hymes hitting a buzzer beater off a pass from Baron. Baron carried the Golden Griffins with 18 first-half points on 5-of-8 shooting and 2 of 3 from three-point range. He came into the game averaging 16.2 points.
The Golden Griffins were coming off Wednesday night’s huge upset at Temple.
Late Friday night, Washington State outscored the University at Buffalo, 13-4, in the final five minutes to hold off the Bulls, 65-54, at KeyArena in Seattle.
The Bulls held a two-point advantage at halftime and the lead would see-saw for much of the second half before the Cougars (8-4) rallied for the victory.
“I give Washington State credit,” UB coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “They played much better defensively in the second half than the first half, but we had so many layups that have to be converted. When you get right to the rim, you’ve got to come up with those. It got us out of rhythm. We didn’t have the rhythm necessary to score in the second half and we have to fight our way through that.”
UB (4-8) played its first game since losing starting point guard Jarrod Oldham to a wrist injury. Freshman Jarryn Skeete filled in for Oldham and finished with nine points and four rebounds.
Tony Watson led Buffalo with a season-high 18 points, including four three-pointers. Auraum Nuiriankh finished with 13 points and eight rebounds. Javon McCrea, who played only 18 minutes because of foul trouble, finished with just two points.
Also Friday night, a 12-point first-half run by Albany broke the game open as the Great Danes defeated the Canisius College women’s basketball team, 67-47, in the consolation game of the Beach Classic at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.
Sophomore Kayla Hoohuli led the Golden Griffins with 12 points, the only Canisius player to reach double figures. Freshman Tiahana Mills had six rebounds while senior Ashley Wilkes recorded a career-high four blocks.
“We just didn’t come out to play,” Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. “I wanted our team to bounce back from a tough loss to Long Beach on Thursday, and we didn’t do that at all. It is easy to play hard when shots are falling, but when they aren’t, we don’t dig in and get energy from other parts of our game.”