Saint Peter’s holds off Canisius

Isaiah Reese (13) came off the bench to score 19 points and grab a career-high 11 rebounds for the Blue and Gold. (Photo : Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)

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ALBANY, N.Y. – Saint Peter’s senior forward Quadir Welton, an All-MAAC First-Team selection, had 15 points and nine rebounds and fellow senior Trevis Wyche had 10 points, with three of those points coming in the game’s final 51 seconds, as the second-seeded Peacocks held off Canisius 61-58 in a MAAC Basketball Championship quarterfinal game last night in Times Union Center.

The win, Saint Peter’s seventh straight, moves the team to 19-12 overall and pushes the Peacocks to a semifinal meeting with the winner of Saturday’s Iona vs. Rider game. Canisius sees its tournament run with a record of 18-15.

The Peacocks scored 12-straight points in the first 3:50 of the second half, with Welton and Wyche accounting for five of those points during the run. The Golden Griffins were able to battle back, however, and the Blue and Gold closed the Saint Peter’s lead to 53-47 with 4:31 left to play after junior Jermaine Crumpton slammed home two of his 18 points for the night. During that comeback effort, Canisius’ defense held the Peacocks without a field goal 9:53 of game action, but the field goal-less streak came to an end just moment’s after Crumpton’s dunk, as Antwon Portley drilled a 3-point field goal on the team’s next trip down the floor to make the score 56-47 with 4:10 showing on the clock.

A 3-point make by Crumpton with 42 seconds left in the game cut Saint Peter’s cushion to one at 59-58, but the Peacocks answered once again, as Wyche worked the clock down and scored a lay-up with 13 seconds left to make the score 61-58 in favor of the Peacocks. Canisius, which had no timeouts, raced the ball up the floor and got two looks from 3-point land in the final 9.5 seconds, but both shot attempts banged off the rim and Saint Peter’s was able to secure the victory.

For Canisius, freshman Isaiah Reese came off the bench to score 19 points and grab a career-high 11 rebounds for the Blue and Gold, while Crumpton had 18 points. Senior Kiefer Douse grabbed 10 rebounds in the loss for Canisius, which shot 40 percent from the field and just 23.1 percent from 3-point land.

Saint Peter’s shot 47.9 percent from the floor as a team in the win, the team’s first MAAC Tournament win over Canisius since the 1995 event in Albany.

Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Postgame Comments
“I was proud of the effort of our guys to fight back, and claw back into the game and I’ve been proud of their effort all year long.”

This group has always had fight. As I reflect back with this group from where we started in June to where we are now, it is remarkable. From June, where we had to figure out a way to field a team, to now, I’m just proud of what we accomplished and proud of the team’s effort.”

“We had a bad vide to start the second half, and I didn’t think we were playing well together [to start the second half]. We had to make some substitutions to change the vibe a little bit, and we slowly got ourselves back into the game.”

“The effort of some of the guys who came off the bench was phenomenal. We needed to change the energy in the game. We needed to get the guys who were on the bench into the game, because they were able to get the ball moving a little bit better.”

Inside the Box Score
• Canisius outrebounded Saint Peter’s by a 37-26 clip, the Griffs’ largest rebounding margin of the season.
• Canisius grabbed 13 offensive rebounds in the loss, and ended the night with 18 second-chance points. Of the 13 offensive rebounds, Reese was good for five of those, the most for any Canisius player in a game this season.
• Saint Peter’s was able to turn 16 Canisius mistakes into 16 points off turnovers.
• The Griffs were credited with a season-low 11 assists.

Game Notes
• This was the 78th all-time meeting between the two schools, with Canisius holding a 43-35 lead in the series.
• The loss drops Canisius to 2-3 all-time in postseason meetings with the Peacocks.
• Canisius’ record in MAAC Tournament quarterfinal games slipped to 8-16 all-time, and Friday’s game marked the 17th time where the Blue and Gold played a MAAC Tournament game decided by five points or less.
• Crumpton’s basket at the 18:45 mark of the first half allowed him to become the 37th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career. He is the third player on this year’s team, and the second junior, to reach the scoring milestone.

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