Cornell (3-4) broke away from a 32-32 halftime tie, opening the second half on a 10-2 run sparked by a dunk, three-point play and jumper from Shonn Miller. A 3-pointer from JoJo Fallas along with two free throws from Darryl Smith gave Cornell its largest lead, 49-39 with 13:27 left.
Canisius (2-2) pulled within four late, but Cornell hit 6 of its last 8 free throws to seal it.
The Big Red shot 44.7 percent from the field and outscored Canisius 32-22 in the paint. Smith went 8 of 9 from the line to finish with 13 points and Miller chipped in 10 with seven boards.
The Griffins were limited to 19-of-57 shooting (33.3 percent) and couldn't capitalize on 23 Cornell turnovers. Jermaine Crumpton had 15 points and Zach Lewis added 14.