Courtesy of GoGriffs.com
ALBANY, N.Y. – Canisius senior Phil Valenti recorded his seventh career double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead five Canisius players in double-figures as the Golden Griffins went on the road and defeated Siena 80-73 Saturday night in Times Union Center. The win improved Canisius to 14-10 overall and 7-6 in MAAC play, while the Saints slipped to 10-14 overall and 7-6 in league play.
Valenti’s 24 points came after he went 8-for-14 from the field, 4-for-7 from 3-point land and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the win. Senior Kiefer Douse and junior Kassius Robertson each had 13 points in the victory, while junior Jermaine Crumpton and freshman Isaiah Reese added 10 points apiece. Canisius shot 45.8 percent from the field and 28.6 percent from 3-point land while holding a 34-31 advantage on the glass.
Three Siena players scored in double-figures in the loss, led by senior guard Marquis Wright, who scored a game-high 26 points in the losing effort. Senior Javion Ogunyemi added 20 points and six rebounds, while senior Lavon Long chipped in 16 points and five boards. The Saints shot 50.9 percent from the field, but ended the night by going 0-for-8 from 3-point land while shooting 68 percent from the free-throw line.
Canisius used a 15-3 run midway through the first half to stretch a 20-19 lead into a 35-22 advantage with 5:42 left to play before halftime, capped by a 3-point field goal by Valenti from the top of the key. Canisius, which led by as many as 18 in the closing 2:00 of the opening stanza, took a 47-32 lead into the locker room at the break after the Blue and Gold shot 56.3 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes of the game.
In the second half, Canisius led 74-62 with 6:15 left to play before Siena mounted a comeback with a 7-0 run over the span of 2:26, with Wright and Ogunyemi accounting for all seven of Siena’s points in that scoring spurt. Canisius maintained its three-point cushion until there was 1:01 left on the clock, when Crumpton hit a pair of charity tosses to stretch the Griffs’ lead to five at 76-71. After Siena went empty on its next trip down the floor, Valenti helped ice the game by hitting two free-throws with 46 seconds left to play to give the Blue and Gold a 78-71 advantage.
Canisius junior Selvedin Planincic scored eight points after going 3-for-4 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line in the win for the Griffs, the team’s third victory over Siena in its last four trips to Times Union Center. Freshman Malik Johnson added seven assists to the winning effort, his 22nd game this season with multiple assists.
Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Postgame Comments
“I thought the way we came out tonight was really important. We came out and played with some great energy at both ends of the floor, especially offensively.”
“We had to stretch the rotation a bit and go to the bench early tonight because we got in some foul trouble in the first half. That group really provided us with some good minutes. Those are minutes we have to get every time out, especially this time of the year.”
“Knowing that Siena is a big, physical team, we knew coming in that that were going to work the ball inside and we had to be able to get rebounds. I thought we did a really good job on the glass tonight. We go a team effort and being able to out rebounded them tonight is a testament to the hard work and energy it takes to win a rebounding battle.”
Inside the Box Score
• Siena held a 56-38 advantage on points in the paint.
• Canisius’ bench outscored Siena’s reserves by a 20-5 count. Seven of the nine Griffs that saw time on Saturday scored at least two points.
• The Griffs were charged with 12 turnovers in the win, but only four of those came after halftime.
• This was the 98th all-time meeting between the two schools, with Siena leading the series 53-45.
• Canisius has now defeated Siena eight times in the last 10 meetings between the two programs, dating back to the 2012-13 campaign.
• Valenti has three double-double efforts this season, which leads the team.
• Valenti’s 24 points allows him to become just the 21st player in school history to score more than 1,200 career points.
• Valenti has now scored 20-plus points in three of the team’s last four contests.
• Johnson has dished out 19 assist against just four turnovers in the team’s last three games.
Canisius will return to action Monday, Feb. 6, when the team travels to play at Saint Peter’s. Tipoff in Jersey City, New Jersey is set for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on MAAC.tv, and the audio call will be on Timeless WECK 1230-AM and 102.9-FM in Buffalo and the Golden Griffin Broadcast Network.