The Canisius men’s basketball team already set a program record for most wins before Jan. 1, but the Golden Griffins will have to wait until after New Year’s to double last season’s victory total.
The Griffs (9-4) came close to earning their 10th win of the campaign Sunday before host Detroit rallied for an 83-78 win before 2,717 on Dick Vitale Court at Calihan Hall.
The Titans (8-5), the defending Horizon League champions who lost by only 15 to Kansas in the NCAA Tournament last March and by only four points at then No. 3 Syracuse earlier this month, extended their overall home-court winning streak to 15, including a 7-0 mark this season.
Canisius led at halftime, 42-39, and by as much as seven (55-48) after a Billy Baron free throw with 11:46 remaining. Then Detroit started chipping away – taking the lead for good (57-55) on Nick Minnerath’s three-pointer with 9:00 left.
Detroit canned eight baskets, including three treys, during a stretch of 11:20 while holding the Griffs to just three field goals in that span.
Still, the Griffs trimmed an eight-point deficit with 1:15 left down to two in just 54 seconds as Isaac Sosa hit a pair of three-pointers, while Baron made a layup and trey to make it 79-77. The Titans – who went 20 for 25 from the line, including 9 for 10 in the final 48 seconds – made their final four free throws to thwart the rally once and for all.
Baron led the Griffs with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Sosa and Jordan Heath each added 17 points. Harold Washington had 13 points.
All five starters for Detroit reached double figures, led by Ray McCallum’s 22 points and seven assists. Juwan Howard Jr. had 13 points.
The Titans’ success at the line and ability to force turnovers (23 leading to 20 points) offset a fine shooting performance by Canisius (50.9 percent, including 52.4 on treys).
“Physically, they really beat us up. I guess that’s the difference between Midwest basketball and what we play on the east coast,” Griffs coach Jim Baron said. “I’m proud of the way we battled ... but the turnovers at key times did us in.”
The Griffs host Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foe Fairfield at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Koessler Center.
Bona rally falls short
St. Bonaventure’s women trailed by double digits most of the second half but created some drama down the stretch thanks to a stirring rally before falling to N.C. State, 70-66, in the Reilly Center.
It was Bona’s first home loss in five games. CeCe Dixon scored 23 points for the Bonnies (7-7), while Ashley Zahn, whose three-pointer with 18 seconds pulled Bona within 68-66, finished with 14 points.
Kody Burke had 20 points to lead the Wolfpack (8-5).
Bona visits Wisconsin-Green Bay at 3 p.m. Saturday.
St. Bonaventure’s men look to improve to 6-0 at the Reilly Center when they host Iona at 1 p.m. this afternoon (Radio 1450 AM). Both teams were NCAA Tournament participants last year.