Buffalo, NY (WGR550) -- The Canisius Golden Griffins dropped their first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game of the season with a 66-45 loss to the Fairfield Stags at Koessler Athletic Center on Thursday. Canisius is now 2-1 in the MAAC, and 9-5 overall on the season.
The Stags dominated the first half, right from the opening tipoff. Fairfield scored the first 11 points of the game, and came out in a full court press that had the Griffs on their heels and flustered. Canisius went more than five minutes without a basket before Billy Baron converted on a three point shot at the 14:50 mark of the first. The guard was fouled on the play, but missed the and-one opportunity. However, Chris Manhertz was able to pull down the rebound and convert on a second chance opportunity. Manhertz also made a basket on the next possession to bring the team within four points, 11-7. The forward led the team in scoring with 8 points in the first. The visitors did not make a basket during the 7-0 outburst, and overall did not score for more than three minutes during the sequence.
Maurice Barrow contributed a team-high 14 points in the first half for Fairfield. The junior forward helped key a 13-2 run over the next several minutes to boost the Stags lead to 24-9. The largest deficit of the first for Canisius was 18 points, when the team trailed 32-14 with 1:40 to go in the frame. Fairfield took a 34-17 lead into the locker room at half time.
Canisius did outrebound their opponents 21-15 in the first, and controlled the offensive glass 10-4. However, the Stags used 12 Canisius turnovers to their advantage with a 14-0 edge in points off of turnovers in the half.
The physical, in-your-face pressure by Fairfield continued in the second half. It boiled over early when Jordan Heath and Amadou Sidibe tangled in the paint. Sidibe retaliated from a Heath two-handed shove with a forearm to Heath's chest and head area. The Stags forward was assessed a flagrant 2 foul, and was automatically ejected for the confrontation with 16:41 to go in the game. The physical play resulted in another 9 Griffs turnovers in the half.
Canisius had a better half shooting in the second, going 9-24 (37.5%) from the field, compared to 5-22 (22.7%) in the first. But overall the team shot 30.4%, or 14-46. Baron led the team with 14 points. However, the guard was an uncharacteristic 6-9 from the free throw line. Manhertz finished the night with 11 points, and a team best 13 rebounds in 30 minutes. The junior pulled down 7 of the team's 15 offensive boards, as well.
Barrow led Fairfield with 21 points off of the bench, accounting for more than half of the Stags 39 bench points total. Derek Needham chipped in 10 points and 7 rebounds in a team-high 30 minutes also. The Stags shot 14-28 (50%) in the first half, and 9-20 (45%) from the field in the second, for a 23-48 (47.9%) game total. Fairfield's biggest lead of the night came with 1:28 to go in the game. The visitors held a 28 point lead, 66-38. Canisius eclipsed their all-time low point total at Koessler Athletic Center with three late baskets. The Griffs 41-point total on February 12, 2009 vs. Niagara is the all-time low at home.
Canisius has no time to sulk. The team hosts Marist at seven o'clock on Saturday night. You can hear all of the action on our sister station, WWWS AM-14000.