On Friday night, Canisius recorded its best win of the season. On Sunday afternoon, it stunningly suffered perhaps its worst loss.
Monmouth guard Andrew Nicholas hit two three-pointers in the game’s final 8.1 seconds, with the game-winner coming with 1.0 seconds left, to help lift the host Hawks to an 83-82 win over Canisius on Sunday afternoon at Monmouth’s Multipurpose Activity Center in West Long Branch, N.J.
On Friday night, the Golden Griffins won at Iona to earn a share of first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. However, a three-game win streak for Canisius (12-7, 6-2 MAAC) ended against a Monmouth (9-10, 3-5) team the Griffs beat, 87-67, last Sunday in Buffalo.
Canisius had an 82-77 lead with 14 seconds left. Nicholas, who scored 18 of his 28 in the second half, hit his first three with 8.1 seconds left to bring Monmouth within 82-80. The Hawks fouled Canisius senior guard Billy Baron with 6.7 seconds left, and Baron missed the front end of the one-and-one. Monmouth’s Deon Jones (20 points, 11 rebounds) grabbed the rebound, raced upcourt and fed the ball up the right side to Nicholas, whose body was moving forward as he released the three. Canisius inbounded the ball but Baron could not get off a heave from his own end.
“Give them credit, they made shots and we did not, especially late in the game,” Canisius coach Jim Baron said. “That kid Nicholas stepped up when they needed him to. But in the end, we didn’t help ourselves. We turned it over too much and we sent them to the free-throw line 26 times. We can’t do that if we are going to win league games, especially on the road.”
Baron led Canisius with 21 points, senior Chris Perez had 18, freshman Phil Valenti had 16, freshman Zach Lewis had 13 points and senior Jordan Heath scored 10 for Canisius, which shot 51 percent from the field, 48 percent from three-point range and 81.8 percent from the free-throw line.
The Hawks shot 52.6 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and scored 17 points scored off Canisius’ season-high 24 turnovers.
Canisius led 36-28 at halftime, was up 14 points with 14:11 left to play and its lead remained around 10 for the next seven minutes before Jones hit a three with 6:09 left to make it 65-58.
Canisius returns home to host rival Niagara on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the teams’ 193rd all-time meeting.
On the women’s side, there was a much more expected result as MAAC leader Marist (13-5, 7-1) cruised to a 73-47 victory over the Golden Griffins (7-11, 3-6) at the Koessler Athletic Center.
At Niagara’s Gallagher Center, freshman Victoria Rampado scored all but two of her 23 points in the second half to drive the Purple Eagles to a 48-45 victory over Monmouth.
Rampado had 14 points in the 19-8 run that helped Niagara tie the game at 44-44 with 2:41 left. Niagara (5-12, 3-5 MAAC) held Monmouth (4-15, 3-5) to a single free throw the rest of the way.