YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Canisius College erased a 22-point second-half deficit and rallied to beat Youngstown State in overtime, 84-82, in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament played before 2,596 in the Beeghly Center on Saturday night.
Billy Baron got fouled attempting a three-point shot with 2.1 second left. He missed the first, but made the next two to provide the winning margin and cap a comeback that started with the Griffs trailing, 53-31, with 17 minutes left.
“We told them to stay focused, try and get it within 10,” Canisius coach Jim Baron said. “For some reason they [Youngstown] got very lethargic and we kept playing to win. We stepped it up, outrebounded them and made plays. Billy made the big shot down the stretch and our bench gave us quality minutes.”
The Griffs got 29 points off the bench led by Alshwan Hymes with 19. The Penguins only got one point from their reserves.
Baron finished with 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting, for his third 30-point game of the season. Hymes scored 14 of his 19 in the second half. Canisius shot 49 percent from the floor in the second half and only turned the ball over six times.
The Griffs never led in regulation despite going on a 20-0 run to get back in it. The run started on a Chris Manhertz jumper with 17:56 left. Baron had eight points during the run while Hymes hit two three-pointers. His second three-pointer pulled the Griffs within two points at 53-51 with 11:23 left.
Canisius took its first lead with 2:28 left in overtime when Josiah Heath dropped a free throw making the score, 79-78.
The Griffs had a chance to win in it regulation with 35 seconds left and the game tied, 73-73, but they were unable to get a shot off.
The Griffs improved to 20-13 giving them their first 20-win season since 2001. It was only the Griffs’ second overtime game of the year with the other coming on Feb. 28 against Saint Peter’s.
The Griffs could potentially host a third-round game. An anouncement could come as early as today.
The Penguins fell to 12-5 in the Beeghly Center this year.
The Griffins outrebounded Youngstown State, 43-41. Josiah Heath grabbed eight rebounds off the bench.
The Griffs were coming off a 69-53 win over Elon on March 20 in the first round of the CIT. That win was Canisius’ first postseason victory since March 23, 1995.
Youngstown State was led by its backcourt. Guard Blake Allen made 10 of 18 from the floor to finish with 27 points while his counterpart Kendrick Perry added 20. Damien Eargle and Kamren Brlin added 14 each.
Youngstown ended the season 18-16 overall and posted a 7-9 record in the Horizon League.