Canisius comes up short at Cleveland State

 Jermaine Crumpton (2) led three Griffs in double figures with a game-high 21 points. (Photo: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)
Jermaine Crumpton (2) led three Griffs in double figures with a game-high 21 points. (Photo: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)

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CLEVELAND – Cleveland State guard Rob Edwards scored 10 of his team-high 17 points in the second half and the host Vikings shot 51.7 percent from the field in the game’s second stanza en route to a 67-64 win over Canisius Tuesday night in the Wolstein Center. The win improves Cleveland State to 1-1 on the year, while the Golden Griffins slipped to 0-2 with the loss.

Canisius junior forward Jermaine Crumpton scored a game-high 21 points in the loss to lead three Griffs in double-figures. Junior Kassius Robertson scored 13 points, and senior forward Phil Valenti posted 10 points while matching a career-high with six assists. Senior Kiefer Douse was credited with a career-high 10 rebounds in the loss, as the Blue and Gold opened the season 0-2 for the first time since 2008-09.

Canisius led 36-31 at halftime, but Cleveland State ripped off a 9-4 run in the first 2:42 of the second half to knot the game at 40-40. The game went back-and-forth for the next seven-plus minutes before the Vikings got five-straight points from Kasheem Thomas in the span of 39 seconds to take a 56-53 lead with 9:26 left on the clock. Thomas gave Cleveland State the lead for good at the 9:26 mark after he drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing.

Canisius cut Cleveland State’s lead to one at 65-64 with 1:48 showing on the clock after Crumpton knocked down his third 3-pointer of the night from the top of the key. Out of a late timeout, Cleveland State missed two shots before guard Bobby Word tipped in an offensive rebound to give the Vikings a 67-64 lead with 18 ticks left in regulation time. Canisius had a chance to tie the game with time winding down, but Robertson’s 3-point attempt from just in front of the Griffs’ bench banged off the side of the rim and Cleveland State corralled the loose ball to secure the win.

Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Postgame Comments:
“This was a hard-fought game tonight. This was one of those games that required us to grit it out defensively to win. We aren’t there yet. This was the kind of game that required us to block-out for 40 minutes. We aren’t there yet. We gave up entirely too many second-chance opportunities, especially in the second half.”

Inside the Box Score
• Cleveland State ended the night with a 35-29 advantage on the glass. The Vikings had 15 offensive rebounds in the victory, with eight of those coming in the game’s second half.
• The Griffs had 17 assists on 23-made field goals. Valenti was one of five Canisius players to record multiple assists on the night.
• Cleveland State outscored Canisius 34-28 in the paint.
• The Griffs scored three field goals in the game’s final 10 minutes, with two of those buckets coming on 3-point makes by Crumpton.
• After registering eight steals at Kentucky on Sunday, Canisius was credited with just one steal in Tuesday’s game.

Game Notes
• This was the fourth all-time meeting between the two schools, and the first since the 1986-87 season. Cleveland State has won the last three games in the series.
• Crumpton’s 21 points on Tuesday marks his third career 20-plus point game. He had two games with 20 or more points last year.
• Valenti’s six assists matches his previous career-high, set Nov. 13, 2015 in a loss at Hofstra.
• Five of Douse’s career-high 10 boards came off the offensive glass.
• Robertson drained four 3-pointers in the loss on Tuesday, the 47th time in his career where he’s connected on multiple treys in a game.

Up Next
Canisius will close out its three-game road swing to start the season on Friday, Nov. 18 when the team travels to play at Duquesne for another Bluegrass Showcase game. Tipoff in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is set for 7 p.m.

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