PISCATAWAY, N.J. – They trailed by two with the clock running down. The ball was brought up the floor as the seconds drained. Finally the guard stopped from beyond the arc, released a shot with an arc bordering on perfection. The shot knew nothing but net as the final horn sounded.
Billy Baron’s game winner, ironically his lone three of the game, gave Canisius an 86-85 victory over Elon at the Rutgers Athletic Center on Tuesday. Baron led the Griffs with 21 points.
It was a significant victory for the MAAC club. They were defeated by 22 at St. Bonaventure on Saturday. They faced Rutgers on Monday in the NIT Season Tip-Off and following a competitive first half, saw the home standing Scarlet Knights pull away. Getting the win in the regional consolation proved more than just stopping a two-game losing streak.
“I wanted that last shot,” Billy Baron said after the game. “I wanted to shoot a three, feel we played sloppy. As a senior I knew what to do.”
The team’s leading scorer to date and on this night, Baron feels his role is “to get my teammates involved. I actually didn’t shoot the first few minutes of the game.”
Canisius led by five at the half. The first ten minutes of the second half saw Elon get into the double bonus from the line and Canisus giving up 30 points. Coach Jim Baron credits the bench for regrouping in the stretch. “They (bench players) really came on and were significant for us ,” the coach said. “This game was huge for us tonight.”
Canisius trailed by seven points with four minutes left. They kept after it and rallied after capitalizing on several Elon turnovers the final minutes. Lucas Troutman of Elon tied teammate Luke Eddy for the game scoring lead with 23 points. His physical presence and inside skills gave the Griffins problems. “We have to be physical and rebound the basketball better as we move on,” said Jim Baron.
On this evening Canisius was thrilled to exit the Athletic Center with the NIT Season Tip-Off split. “That (Elon) is a good team,” Jim Baron said. “They are picked to win their conference. They were tough and well-coached.”