Maybe it’s time to start writing the Legend of Billy Baron.
Canisius’ senior guard hit a three-point shot as the clock ran out to complete a comeback in the last 1:51 that gave the Golden Griffins an 86-85 victory over Elon in a consolation round game of the NIT Season Tip-Off in Piscataway, N.J.
Jeremiah Williams of the Griffs caused a turnover by Elon’s Luke Eddy with 10 seconds left to make it all possible.
In another squeaker, Siena’s Marquis Wright threw up a shot on a desperation drive to the basket and it fell through as time expired to give the Saints (1-3) a 72-70 victory over St. Bonaventure (3-1) before a crowd of 5,654 at the Times Union Center in Albany.
Baron’s game-winner for Canisius was his only three-point basket. He had 23 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Canisius scored the final nine points of the game to erase an 85-77 deficit and even its record at 2-2. Elon fell to 2-2.
Chris Perez had 17 points for Canisius, which made 30 of 52 shots (57.8 percent). That helped offset Elon’s 34-25 advantage on the boards, including 13 at the offensive end. The Phoenix had 15 turnovers to 11 for the Griffs.
Canisius led, 44-39, at the half but trailed as many as 11 in the second half.
Eddy and 6-foot-10 Lucas Troutman led the Phoenix with 23 points each.
“This was a great bounce-back win for us,” Canisius coach Jim Baron said. “That’s a team that’s picked to win their league, and our guys came in off the bench with fresh legs and really gave a great effort. This is a solid, hard-fought team win.”
Canisius will learn its next opponent and playing site in the Tip-Off this afternoon.
In Albany, Siena was able to get its attempt at the final shot after Youssou Ndoye of the Bonnies was called for traveling in the lane with 9.5 seconds left. Bona had tied the game on a pair of free throws by Matthew Wright with 1:16 left.
Ndoye led the Bonnies with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Dion Wright had 14 points and Matthew Wright 13. Lavon Long had 15 points for Siena before fouling out with 3:31 left.
The first half was extremely tight with 10 ties. Neither team led by more than four points before the Saints went on a 10-2 run in the last 1:42 of the first half to build a 48-38 lead at the intermission. The Bonnies finally drew even at 65 on a free throw by Ndoye, and it was tied again at 68 and 70.
Meanwhile in Vestal, the Canisius women’s team (3-1) shot 52 percent in the second half and pulled away with a 66-53 win over Binghamton (0-3). Kayla Hoohuli led Canisius with 17 points including four of five from three-point range. Sophomore Tiahana Mills had a career-high 15 points in a return to her hometown.
“Binghamton wanted to take away some of our players who had been scoring early in the season, and I was glad to see we were able to score through other options,” Canisius coach Terry Zeh said.
This morning, the University at Buffalo women (2-1) will play an 11 o’clock game against Duquesne (2-2) in the A.J. Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh. The Bulls will have to deal with a tall Duquesne front line. One of the Dukes’ victories is a 94-63 triumph over Kent State. UB is coming off a 79-72 loss to Cornell last Saturday.