In the waning moments of Sunday's St. Joe's-Canisius game, a familiar St. Joe's chant broke out.
"I believe! . . . I believe that we will win!"
But St. Joe's wasn't doing the chanting.
Instead it was Canisius' mosh pit of fans which celebrated a 54-46 upset win over their Monsignor Martin Association rival in a packed Canisius auditorium. Students flooded the court after No. 10 large school Canisius, which lost to St. Joe's four times last season and entered Sunday's contest one game above .500, clamped down on the No. 2 Marauders.
Canisius (8-6, 1-0) limited St. Joe's (14-2, 2-1) to a season-low point total, held the Marauders to 16 points in the second half, and didn't allow a point the final 3:45. The Marauders didn't hit a three-pointer all game. St. Joe's senior Andrew Passage, who scored 20 points in St. Joe's 60-44 win at Nichols Thursday, was held scoreless.
"It was just our defensive intensity," said coach Kyle Husband. "We held them under 50 points. These guys had goals in mind and went out to achieve them. We didn't shoot the ball all that well, but we work hard on defense every day. Games like today are what we're trying to do."
Junior Justin Young scored 10 of his 18 points during Canisius' 16-6 fourth quarter, quite a turnaround from last year's meeting at Canisius, when St. Joe's used a 24-1 fourth quarter in a 60-34 win.
"This is the greatest feeling ever," said Young, who had three baskets in Canisius' 7-0 run to start the quarter.
St. Joe's climbed back to 47-46 on a Mike Battle jumper with 3:45 to play, but the Marauders wouldn't score again.
Anthony Ragusa (14 points), who had hit a three-pointer earlier in the quarter, hit a scooping drive through the lane for a 49-46 lead. Senior Justin Volk (12 points) made one of his several key plays when he sent a cross-court pass to Young, who knocked down a three-pointer that gave Canisius a 52-46 lead with 1:35 left.
"These guys come to practice with a work ethic that is indescribable," said Husband. "Justin, 'Goose' [Ragusa] and Volk -- those three guys are our leaders. It's fun to be with those guys every day."
The rivals will meet again at defending league champion St. Joe's at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 18, and they're both hoping for their third straight meeting in the Manhattan Cup final.
"They were the better team tonight," said St. Joe's coach Mark Simon, whose team was led by John Greer's 19 points. "Justin Volk was great. Obviously we struggled to score in the second half, and that's a credit to their intensity and their energy level."