The best thing you can say after one of the ugliest games ever played in the Koessler Center is that not many people had to endure it.
Canisius didn't make a three-pointer for the first time in nearly 11 years and barely averted its worst offensive performance in the building's history as defending Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season champion Manhattan posted a 60-51 victory Monday night. The game was played before a friends-and-family gathering announced as 742.
The Golden Griffins (6-9) slipped into ninth in the MAAC standings at 1-4 while Manhattan (6-8, 3-1) pulled into a tie for second with Loyola and Marist.
While the scoreboard didn't indict Canisius too badly, the stat sheet didn't give the Griffs any breaks.
Overall, Canisius hit just 15 of 47 from the field and made only two jump shots all night. The Griffs were 0 for 13 from three-point range -- their first 0-fer from beyond the arc since their infamous 0-for-22 Koessler showing against St. Bonaventure on Jan. 21, 1995.
And their biggest sin was their 24 turnovers, upping their season average to 18.8 per game. Slumping freshman point guard Frank Turner had just four points and seven turnovers, giving him 28 in the last five games. He spent 11 minutes on the bench as coach Tom Parrotta yanked him for freshman walk-on Richard Starling.
Canisius trailed, 35-25, at halftime after a period in which it took just 16 shots and had 14 turnovers. Things got no better after intermission as the Griffs hit just 7 of 31 shots and missed all 10 of their treys.
"We're usually taking 16 shots it seems in the first three minutes," Parrotta said. "When we don't play that way, it really makes us look like we're running in mud."
The Griffs were down, 53-40, with 3 1/2 minutes left and looked a good bet to break their Koessler futility record of 46 points set in a 2001 loss to Rider. Their biggest problem is that their best offensive option, senior guard Chuck Harris, is on the bench in a shirt and tie after knee surgery.
Canisius averaged 78.3 points in a four-game stretch that ended with a Dec. 29 win at Hartford, the game in which Harris was injured. In the three games since, the Griffs are 1-2 and averaging just 58.3 points.
"We just never got things rolling. It was a struggle," said senior forward Darnell Wilson, who had 10 points. "Chuck opens up a lot of things for us. We really miss him."
"I don't wake up every morning and say, 'Is Chuck ready today?' " Parrotta said. "We just have to rally the troops and figure a way."
Sophomore forward Shaun James led Canisius with a career-high 12 points and nine rebounds. Gunner Pawel Malesa was 1 of 8 from the field, missing all five of his treys, while Corey Herring went 0 for 4 from long range. Both finished with six points. Canisius trailed for the final 39 minutes and went for a 10-minute stretch spanning both halves without a field goal.
"We were just trying to stay close to shooters," said first-year Manhattan coach Barry Rohrssen. "We were really concentrating on closing out and contesting shots."
Turner forced the action with bad passes and often dribbled himself into trouble as he was outplayed by Manhattan frosh point guard Patrick Bouli (seven assists, one turnover).
"Our point guards did a really good job," Rohrssen said. "Patrick Bouli really set a tone."
James, a 6-foot-8 junior college transfer, was the Griffs' only bright spot. He had 10 of his points in the second half and was the only Canisius player to score in the first 12:48 of the stanza.