Robertson thrives in Griffs’ thrashing of Marist

By Marshall Haim

Assistant Sports Editor

There was only one word that could describe Kassius Robertson‘s performance on Saturday: incredible. The junior set multiple accolades in the Griffs’ 91-58 win of the Marist Red Foxes on Saturday in front of an announced 1,524 fans at the Koessler Athletic Center.

Robertson, a junior, needed 18 points to surpass the 1,000th point threshold for his career going into the game on Saturday afternoon. He didn’t just achieve it, he obliterated it.

On his sixth made three-pointer of the game, in as many attempts, he joined an elite group, becoming the 36th member in Canisius history to go over the century mark for points. He’s also the third Canadian born player to accomplish the feat, joining Michael Meeks (second on list — Brampton, Ontario) and Jamie Cammaert (33rd on list — London, Ontario). He is also the first junior to score at least 1,000 points since Frank Turner did so in the 2008-09 season.

Robertson ended the game with a career-high 30 points, 27 of which came off three-point shots. His new career-high surpasses one that was set earlier this season at Monmouth on Dec. 6 when the 6-foot-3 guard scored 29 on the road.

“Just taking rhythm shots. I hit the first two and had a good feeling,” Robertson said about his performance. “Once you get a couple under your belt, you know you have your confidence. I knew I could shoot the ball, so I tried to pick my spots  as I could and take open shots.”

Robertson tied the school’s record for three-pointers made, converting nine out of 10 attempts. The record also ties the most made at the Koessler Athletic Center. Both came when Alshwan Hymes, made nine against Northwestern State on December 29, 2010. He also surpassed Billy Baron to be in sole possession of fourth place for most three-point shots made. He is now six behind Kevin Downey (185) for third place. Toby Foster currently holds the record with 264.

Robertson also had six assists, four rebounds and two steals to go with his career-high scoring output. He also did not turn the ball over while playing a team-best 35 minutes.

Not only did Robertson contribute offensively, Phil Valenti added 19 points in the blowout win, tying a team-best five rebounds with junior Jermaine Crumpton, who also scored in double-figures with 13. Freshman Isaiah Reese had 11, rounding out the Griffs’ top scorers.

“The second half we started really clicking,” Valenti said about his team’s offensive success. “We try and get that flow throughout the whole game. Sometimes your opponent is a little faster or a slower than you like, but unselfish plays all over the court shows what kind of team we have.”

Canisius’ shooting ability was pin-point throughout the game shooting 50 percent from the field (34-of-68). 22 of the Griffs’ 34 field goals were assisted, which has been the Griffs bread and butter, game in and game out. Coming into the game on Saturday, the Griffs ranked sixth in the nation in assists per game (18.2) and per rankings on kenpom.com, the Griffs were seventh in the country in assist-to-field goal percentage (65.4 percent).

The Griffs played with the upmost confidence for majority of the game, especially in the second half. After halftime, the Griffs turned up the offensive success outscoring the Red Foxes 53-25. Canisius shot 60 percent from the field, including 54 percent from beyond the arc. Fastbreak points were another key success for the Griffs as they outscored Marist, 18-0.

Canisius will have a tough task in their upcoming game on Monday when the Griffs will host the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s preseason favorite, Monmouth, for a 7 p.m. tip at the Koessler Athletic Center. If Monmouth is to win their match against Niagara on Saturday night (7 p.m. tip), the Griffs and Monmouth will be tied for first place going into Monday’s bout. The win on Saturday’s is a definite confidence boost that the Griffs will need going into arguably the most anticipated matchup of the season.

“We have a game Monday?” Canisius head coach Reggie Witherspoon joked. “We’re going to watch the [Monmouth – Niagara] game tonight. We went there, played them and they’re a really, really good team. It’ll be a fun game to play. We’ll start working on them, but similarly to today we have to things a little bit better and for longer stretches in the game. But it’s the game we’re looking forward to, I’m sure they are as well.”

 

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