Molson paves way for Griffs victory over Saint Peter’s

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Takal Molson had a game-high 23 points in Canisius’ 70-58 win over Saint Peter’s Friday. (Marshall Haim/The Griffin)

By Mike Pesarchick

Sports Reporter

The Canisius men’s basketball team got back to their winning ways after downing Saint Peter’s on a snowy Friday night at the Koessler Athletic Center, 70-57. Guard Takal Molson put up 23 points as the Griffs earned their way to a 4-1 record in MAAC play.

Canisius is currently tied for first place with Iona and Rider.

Saint Peter’s drew first blood on a layup by Samuel Idowu, opening a back-and-forth first half that saw the two squads tied, 13-13, with 11:30 to go.

Neither side had much success scoring, and the score remained close, with the Peacocks holding a narrow 18-16 lead with 7:25 left.

The game turned chippy soon afterward with pushing and shoving breaking out, requiring the two teams to be separated. Peacocks guard Devauhnte Turner was assessed a technical foul for throwing the basketball at the back of Malik Johnson’s head following the skirmish.

Canisius would then capitalize after, rolling into halftime with a 38-29 lead that they would not relinquish.

The cool collectiveness of Griffs’ coach Reggie Witherspoon was contrasted by the fiery nature of Peacocks coach John Dunne, who led Saint Peter’s to a very successful 23-win season last year, featuring an aggressive offense and a stifling defense.

This season for Saint Peter’s has not been as successful. Coming into the matchup, the Peacocks were ranked dead last in scoring in the MAAC, averaging just 68.2 points per game despite scoring 84 points on Quinnipiac on Jan. 7. They did have the MAAC’s best scoring defense, allowing an average of 66.9 points per game.

Canisius’ lead was chipped away in the second half as Saint Peter’s went on a short scoring run to bring themselves within six as the Griffs offense got off to a sluggish start with turning the ball over on too many occasions.

Center Selvedin Planincic would take matters into his own hands, however, nailing a three-pointer to ice the Peacocks and put the Griffs up, 49-40, with 11 minutes left.

Planincic would finish the night with 11 points and five rebounds.

Although Saint Peter’s kept pace with the Griffs, a Jermaine Crumpton (14 points, three rebounds, three assists) dunk with 3:07 left would be the nail in the coffin, bringing the crowd to its feet and handing the Peacocks (8-9, 2-3 MAAC) the loss.

“I told Coach Dunne after the game that his new nickname was ‘The Grinder.’ His team was grinding out, we know them pretty well for playing that way,” Witherspoon said following the game. “We knew it was going to be that kind of game. We had to be prepared to grind it out ourselves.”

Witherspoon’s team is now 10-8 overall heading into their matchup Sunday against Monmouth. The Hawks (5-11, 1-3 MAAC) are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Niagara, 78-77, on Friday night at the Gallagher Center in Lewiston.

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