Hot shooting from three-point range by Billy Baron of Canisius and Matthew Wright of St. Bonaventure helped carry their teams to victories on the road Monday night.
Baron scored 26 points, making 5 of 10 shots from three-point range, in the Golden Griffins’ 79-71 triumph over Georgia State in the consolation round of the NIT Season Tip-Off in Elon, N.C.
Wright hit for a career-high 32 points, making five treys in the second half, as he led Bona (4-1) to an 83-71 victory over Southern Illinois in the Gulf Coast Showcase at Germain Arena in Estero, Fla.
Canisius will face Metro State of Denver at 5 p.m. today at Elon in its last game before the Thanksgiving Break. Bona will play in a semifinal against Wagner at 8:30 p.m. in Estero.
It was a season’s high in three-pointers for Baron, a senior guard, who made more treys than Georgia State, which hit only 3 of 20 attempts.
Baron, whose three at the buzzer gave the Griffs an 86-85 win over Elon in the consolation round last week in Piscataway, N.J., hit his final three of the game to give Canisius a 74-66 lead with 1:15 to go Monday. The Griffins made five of six free throws in the final minute to close it out.
Ryan Harrow led the Panthers (2-3) with 23 points. Harrow got the Panthers within 51-49 on a layup with 12:31 to go, but they never got closer.
Georgia State led only once, early in the game by two points, before Canisius took over. The Griffs’ largest lead was by 11 with 13:33 left in the first half.
In Florida, Wright, a 6-foot-4 senior guard from Toronto, came through when Bona was threatened by a Saluki run in the second half. Bona never trailed in the game and led by 10 at halftime, but SIU shot 71 percent (15 of 21) in the second half to mount a challenge. The Bonnies’ lead was down to seven points when Wright started hitting from the outside. He hit two in a row to give the Bonnies a 79-62 advantage.
“Matthew Wright played tremendous,” said Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt. “He shot the heck out of the basketball. I thought our guys came out and showed some extra toughness. I was really pleased with our effort.”
The Bonnies made 10 of 21 shots from three-point range to 4 of 11 for the Salukis (1-4).
Matthew Wright made 5 of 10 threes, Charlon Kloof (11 points) hit 3 of 5 from long range and Andell Cumberbatch (11 points) was 2 for 4. Dion Wright had 15 points for the winners.
Desmar Jackson led Southern Illinois with 25 points, including 11 for 11 at the foul line.
The University at Buffalo will return after a 10-day layoff when it faces Robert Morris (3-3) in Alumni Arena at 7 p.m. The Bulls defeated Division II West Virginia Wesleyan, 80-60, on Nov. 16 in their home opener. Senior Javon McCrea leads the Bulls in scoring (21.3). Robert Morris is coming off an 87-74 loss at Cleveland State on Saturday.
Niagara (1-4), with national scoring leader Antoine Mason (31.4 ppg), will face the Penn Quakers (1-3) at 7 p.m. tonight in The Palestra, the historic Philadelphia venue. The Purple Eagles are averaging 85 points per game, which leads the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
NU is 3-0 against the Quakers, including a 70-69 win in the 1970 NCAA Tournament with Calvin Murphy leading the way. The other meetings were in 1984-85 and 1986-87.
Niagara’s lone win this year was 92-81 over the University at Buffalo. Penn topped Monmouth, one of the new members of the MAAC, for its only triumph, 79-73. Sophomore center Darien Nelson-Henry (16.8) and Tony Hicks (16.3) lead the Quakers.