Slow second half costs Canisius

Courtesy of GoGriffs.com

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Tennessee State erased an 11-point second half deficit by outscoring Canisius 34-15 in the game’s final 18:05 to post a 60-52 win Tuesday night in the Gentry Center in Nashville, Tenn. The win moves the Tigers to 2-2 on the season, while the Golden Griffins slipped to 1-3 with the loss.

Canisius, which shot just 31.8 percent from the field and 23.1 3-point land in the game’s second stanza, turned the ball over 21 times in the losing effort, with 11 of those miscues coming after the halftime intermission. On the other side, Tennessee State shot 57.1 percent from the floor and 50 percent from behind the 3-point line in the second half, while holding Canisius to just 17 second-half points, the fewest points in a half for the Blue and Gold this season.

Sophomore Isaiah Reese led the way for the Griffs with a team-high 16 points and eight rebounds, while freshman Takal Molson added 13 points on the power of four makes from 3-point land. Sophomore Spencer Foley added 10 points and two assists to the effort for Canisius.

Canisius led Tennessee State 35-26 at the halftime intermission, and the Blue and Gold stretched their lead to 11 at 37-26 just 1:39 into the second stanza on a runner in the lane by sophomore Malik Johnson. After the Tigers took a 30-second timeout, the home team came out and went on a 17-2 run over the game’s next 3:54 to take a 43-39 lead with 14:11 left to play. Later in the half, Canisius knotted the game at 47-47 after Reese hit a 3-pointer from the near corner, but the Tigers answered with a 13-2 run that spanned 6:40 to put the home squad up 60-49 with 1:41 left to play.

Tennessee State had three players score in double-figures, led by senior forward Ken’Darius Hamilton, who scored 19 points to go along with eight boards and three blocked shots. Delano Spencer was good for 16 points and redshirt-junior forward Christian Mekowulu added 14 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field. The Tigers shot 46.8 percent from the floor in the win and turned 21 Canisius turnovers into 19 points.

Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Postgame Comments
“We beat ourselves tonight, and we did a really good job of it, too. We didn’t share the basket in the second half at all. Guys were just looking to drive and we never got in a flow offensively. We turned it over way too much, and a lot of that was a direct result in guys just trying to go to the basket 1-on-1. If we’re going to be a good team, we need to understand how to play together as a group.”

Game Notes
• This was the third meeting between the two schools, and the first in the state of Tennessee. Tennessee State leads the all-time series 3-0.
• The 52 points are the fewest for Canisius since Feb. 8, 2015, when the team lost at Monmouth 44-40.
• Malik Johnson had six of Canisius’ 15 assists on the night, the 20th time in his career where he’s dished out five-or more assists in a game.
• Spencer Foley has now scored in double-figures in three-straight games for the first time in his career.
• Junior Marcale Lotts made his first career start in the losing effort.

Up Next
Canisius will travel to Stockton, Calif., to play three games in three days, starting Friday, Nov. 24 when the team meets Texas State in the Men Against Breast Cancer Classic. That game will be played at the University of the Pacific, and game time is set for 11:30 p.m., eastern time. There will be no video stream available for that game, but fans can listen to the action live on WECK Radio 1230-AM and 102.9-FM and GoGriffs.com.

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