Second half offensive spark lifts Griffs past Bobcats

Reese

Isaiah Reese scored eight of his 13 points during an 18-6 scoring run in the second half. (Marshall Haim/The Griffin)

By Nolan Hopkins

Assistant Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team defeated the Quinnipiac Bobcats, 71-64, Saturday at the Koessler Athletic Center.

Quinnipiac (9-17, 6-8 MAAC) entered the matchup losers of their last three contests. Conversely, Canisius (17-9, 11-2) came in winners of 12 of their last 14 games.

Both teams came out of the gates struggling from the field, as the score was knotted at 7-7 after the first five minutes of action. The Griffs were able to swing momentum in their favor after senior forward Jermaine Crumpton collected a defensive rebound and threw a bullet pass down court to sophomore guard Isaiah Reese for the easy layup. On the ensuing possession, Reese drove the baseline and delivered a bounce-pass to junior forward Jibreel Faulkner, who then got the home crowd on its feet by finishing a powerful dunk.

Junior forward Marcale Lotts elevated for strong finish on the next Blue and Gold possession, stretching their lead to 13-9, which prompted a Quinnipiac timeout with just under 12 minutes remaining in the half. Over the next four minutes, the Bobcats would go on an 8-0 run, with six of those points belonging to Quinnipiac guard Aaron Robinson off a pair of three-pointers, to take a 17-13 lead. Both teams traded buckets over the next seven minutes, as Canisius took a 29-28 lead into the halftime break.

Sophomore guard Spencer Foley knocked down a pair of three-pointers late in the half, as well as freshman forward Scott Hitchon who also connected on a shot from distance.

Quinnipiac began the second half on a modest 5-0 run, as they took an early 33-29 lead. The Bobcats led 37-36 with just under 16 minutes remaining, when the Griffs powered their way to an 18-6 run over the next 11 minutes to take an 11-point, 54-43. Reese scored eight points during the run.

Sophomore guard Malik Johnson converted eight straight free throws down the stretch to ice the game for the Griffs.

Crumpton finished with 14 points and three rebounds, while Jibreel Faulkner added nine points off the bench. Reese flirted with his second triple-double of the season (13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists).

“They challenged our energy and effort the first 24 minutes of the game, we couldn’t seem to muster up enough energy to really factor into this thing,” head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “I thought we kicked it in a little bit, and give them credit, they are a physical grind-it-out team. Credit to our guys for responding and grinding it out.”

With the win, the Griffs swept the season series against the Bobcats, as they won the first meeting in Hamden, Conn. on Jan. 5, 82-74.

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