Tom Parrotta’s Canisius Golden Griffins took advantage of their final tune-up before resuming Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference play.
Harold Washington had a game-high 27 as the Golden Griffins defeated the Binghamton Bearcats, 75-66 in non-conference action at the Koessler Athletic Center.
Washington paced the Griffs to a 32-28 lead at half with a dozen points. The junior guard scored the Blue and Gold’s first seven. He grabbed a loose ball and drew contact on a drive and finished the pair from the free throw line to start the scoring.
On the next possession, Washington took a Reggie Groves pass, went two dribbles to his right and hit a pull up jumper from the elbow. The back court tandem connected again when Groves drove the baseline from the right side of the floor and kicked it to an open Washington for a three.
Groves and Washington combined to give the Griffs their largest lead of the half at 21-14. The ball switched sides of the floor and Groves fed Washington for another trey.
“The last few games I found myself playing into the hands of the defense,” Washington said. “I found out that even when I’m attacking, I don’t always have to score. Me just attacking period creates shots for other teammates.”
Canisius used seven offensive rebounds before the break to score 14 second-chance points.
Kevin Bleeker and Chris Manhertz led with four boards apiece. Bleeker grabbed a Gaby Belardo three-point attempt and finished with a baby hook in the lane.
When Bleeker’s baseline jumper kicked long, Manhertz was there to clean up with a bucket off the glass.
Washington’s steal and emphatic open-floor dunk gave the Griffs a 27-20 advantage.
“He was aggressive,” Parrotta said of Washington’s performance. “I talked to his high school coach. He felt the same way, that Harold is too nice at times. We’re trying to bring him along with that. He needs to be ultra-aggressive. He’s finding his way with that role. He needs to take a lot of shots because he is very efficient in those shots that he takes.”
The Bearcats made it a one-possession game at 34-31 when Chris Longoria connected on a catch-and-shoot three early in the second half, but the Griffs pulled away.
Alshwan Hymes threaded a pass through the Bearcat zone to Bleeker for a lay up.
The pair converted a two-on-one opportunity with Hymes getting a left-handed lay up.
Hymes and Washington executed another advantage in transition with Hymes scoring again at the end of the play.
Hymes hit a pull-up jumper for a 50-42 advantage. Moments later, the junior guard nailed a trey, and Canisius led 58-49.
The Bearcats tried to get closer, but the Griffs always had an answer, and Washington usually had a hand in it.
The 6’1″ guard came off a Bleeker ball screen and hit a pull-up jumper from just outside the lane.
“He doesn’t need a lot of shots to score a lot of points,” Parrotta added.
“Harold was quick off the ball,” Binghamton head coach Mark Macon said. “Once he got into a rhythm, he hit shots. He got to the basket, now he’s in his rhythm. He comes off around that elbow, and he’s hitting that elbow shot. He’s in his comfort zone. We just couldn’t take him out of it. We tried to. We did some different things. We went zone. He really sparked them.”
Washington went 9-17 from the field including 2-5 from behind the arc and 7-8 from the free throw line.
Hymes chipped in 17 points.
Groves led with four assists. The Griffs handed out 16 dimes to just eight turnovers.
Omar Richards paced the Bearcats with 15 points. Robert Mansell added 14. Richards had a game-high eight rebounds.
Canisius improves to 3-9 with the win. The Griffs resume MAAC play when they travel to Connecticut for a New Year’s Day tilt with Fairfield.
Macon amassed 2,609 points at Temple University where he became the only four-time, first-team Atlantic 10 selection. As a senior, Macon led Temple to the Elite Eight. Denver chose Macon with its first round draft pick in the NBA draft that year.