By John Cole
The Canisius men’s basketball team won both of their games over this past week, tallying victories over MAAC opponents Siena and Saint Peter’s. These victories bolstered the Griffs’ record to 15-10 on the season and 8-6 in the MAAC conference.
In the match against Siena, Canisius performed very well offensively . Phil Valenti recorded his seventh career double-double, with 24 points and 10 rebounds. Valenti was not the only player to have a good offensive performance; four other players on the team scored in the double digits. Kassius Robertson and Kiefer Douse both scored 13 points, while Jermaine Crumpton and Isaiah Reese each scored 10.
Canisius controlled a majority of the game. At one point during the first half, the Griffs were up by as much as 18 points. The story was the same for most of the second half, with Canisius controlling the ball and the lead. But Siena would not go quietly, mounting a 7-0 run and pulling within five points of Canisius with three minutes left in the game. The Griffs kept the Saints from gaining the lead, ultimately winning 80-73.
Not similar to the game against Siena, the game against Saint Peter’s was close until the last second. The back-and-forth battle contained 12 lead changes. Kassius Robertson scored 15 points and senior Kiefer Douse added a career-high 22 points in the victory. In total, the team scored 72 points and shot 46 percent from the field. The team needed every one of their 72 points to win against Saint Peter’s on Wednesday, 72-70.
With five and a half seconds left in the game, the Griffs had the lead by three before Saint Peter’s guard Trevis Wyche was fouled in the act of shooting a three-pointer. He then made all of the three ensuing free throws to even the game up, 70-70. After the game, Coach Witherspoon explained that the team prepares for these late game situations in practice, which was evident at the end of this matchup. With five seconds left, Jermaine Crumpton inbounded the ball to Malik Johnson, who then proceeded to fly down the court and hit an off-balance layup with just 0.1 seconds left.
Canisius will ride their wave of momentum into their rivalry game against Niagara tonight at 8 p.m. in the Koessler Athletic Center. The Griffs will be seeking revenge after a loss to Niagara earlier this season. It is sure to be a great game on Friday as the Purple Eagles come into town.