By John Langley
In a game that got out of control early, the Canisius Golden Griffins fell to the Manhattan Jaspers, 84-73. The game began on a 13-1 run by the Jaspers, led by the big-men Ashton Pankey and Rhamel Brown.
After getting up 30-14, the Griffs clawed their way back into the game with the help of a 16-2 run, tightening the gap to two points. Senior guard Billy Baron electrified the crowd, showing his deep range on a couple of threes to help lead the charge. In the final 5:16 of the first half, Manhattan would outscore Canisius 15-5 to take a 47-35 lead into the half.
Ashton Pankey, a transfer from Maryland, came into the game averaging 6.8 points per game, 3.7 rebounds, and one block. On Friday night, Pankey was a man amongst boys, finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
The second half started well for the Griffs, as they would score five straight points to cut the deficit to seven. The Jaspers would answer, however, with senior guard George Beamon hitting a three, followed by a lay-up by fellow guard Michael Alvarado. The Griffs would battle back once again to cut the deficit to seven with the score being 57-50, but Alvarado answered with a three again.
With 2:45 left in the game, the Griffs once again pulled within seven on a dunk by Jordan Heath, but the Jaspers proved to be too much in the end, making their lay-ups to cruise to victory.
Billy Baron had another solid game for the Griffs, compiling 22 points on 6-15 shooting from the field, seven rebounds, and seven assists. Guard Dominique Raney had another solid performance, scoring 15 points on 6-9 shooting. After a shaky start to his Griffs career, Raney has settled in to score 15 points in his last two games.
Overall, Canisius was beaten around, getting out-rebounded 46-32, and allowing Manhattan to shoot 51.7% from the field and 50% from three. The big men for Canisius had their struggles, with starters Jordan Heath and Chris Manhertz combining to shoot 3-13 from the field for eight points. The two of them combined for nine rebounds, two more than guard Billy Baron.
Canisius will be back at home to take on the Iona Gaels on Sunday, February 9. With a win, the Griffs would tie Iona for the top spot in the MAAC once again.
NOTE: Chris Manhertz left the game with a nose injury in the first half, but would return to the game with a protective mask. The mask was precautionary, but more will be known moving forward.