Canisius scores 85-78 victory over Iona; Gates-Chili’s Much posts double-double

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BUFFALO — Canisius senior Jermaine Crumpton matched a season-high with 24 points to go along with eight rebounds, freshman Takal Molson scored 21 points and grabbed nine boards and sophomore Isaiah Reese scored 12 of his 18 points in the game’s second half as the Golden Griffins posted an 85-78 win over Iona Sunday afternoon in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win, Canisius’ fourth straight, improves the team to 8-7 overall and 2-0 in MAAC play, while the Gaels fell to 7-7 overall and 1-1 in league action.

Crumpton scored his game-high 24 points after going 9-for-18 from the floor, 1-for-4 from 3-point land and 5-for-5 from the free-throw line in 36 minutes of action. Molson, who became the first Canisius freshman to record a double-double in his first career MAAC game in Friday’s win over Rider, went 8-for-13 from the floor, 1-for-2 from 3-point range and 4-for-5 from the charity stripe in the win, as the Griffs ended the contest making 19-of-22 chances from the stripe. Reese added seven boards, two assists and a steal to his final stat line and junior Jonathan Sanks posted 10 points and two assists off the bench for Canisius, which out-rebounded Iona by a 40-33 count for the game and turned 15 Iona turnovers into 21 points.

Five Iona players scored in double-figures, led by E.J. Crawford and Rickey McGill, who each posted 21 points in the loss. Rochester, N.Y., native Deyshonee Much had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Gaels. The former Gates-Chili Spartan hit 5 of 12 shots from the floor and two of six behind the three-point arc. The senior guard also had four assists and two steals.

Roland Griffin came off the bench for Iona to add 11 points in the losing cause. Iona shot 47.5 percent from the field, 31.8 percent from behind the arc and 54.2 percent from the free-throw line, making just 13 of 24 tosses from the charity stripe.

Iona came out of the gates and led by as many as 12 points at 24-12 with 9:20 left in the first half, but the Griffs raced back thanks to an 18-0 run over the final 4:05 of the first stanza to take a 43-29 lead into the halftime intermission. Iona answered right back, as the Gaels used a 22-5 run over a stretch of 7:06 midway through the second half to take a 55-53 lead. That two-point margin would end up being Iona’s final lead of the day, however, as the Griffs scored six of the game’s next eight points to take a 59-57 lead with 10:09 left on the clock. Four of those six points for the Griffs came from Reese, and moments later, Molson gave the Blue and Gold a four-point cushion at 61-57 when he knifed through the lane for a lay-up.

The Griffs’ lead hovered around five for the better part of the game’s next three-plus minutes, but Iona got within three points at 75-72 on a bucket from McGill with 2:29 left to play. Canisius answered right back and went up six at 78-72 when Sanks drilled a three-ball from the far wing, but back-to-back fast-break lay-ups by Iona made it a two-point affair with 1:21 left to play, and Canisius leading 78-76.

That would be as close as Iona would come down the stretch, as the Griffs hit three-straight free-throws and then got a fast-break lay-up by Reese off a feed from teammate Malik Johnson with 16 seconds left to make the score 83-76. The win for Canisius makes the Griffs 2-0 in league play for the fourth time in the last six seasons and for the first time since 2014-15.

Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon‘s Postgame Comments
“I think our half-court defense, once we get it set up, has been pretty decent. The challenge with a team like Iona is that they’re so good in transition, and they throw so many line-ups at you, it is hard to keep up. You can’t have bad moments against Iona, because not only are the back in the game quickly, they’ll get ahead of you just as fast. That was a real big mental challenge for us today.”

“I think being 2-0 in the league is big for us, especially from the standpoint that we played a very challenging non-conference schedule. A lot of times, particularly with a younger team like we have, the guys need some validation to see rewards for working hard. It’s obviously very early, we’re only two games in, but these wins are certainly welcome because the schedule doesn’t get any easier.”

Game Notes
• Sunday’s game was the 72nd all-time meeting between the two schools. Iona leads the series 40-32.
• Including the Griffs’ win over Iona Feb. 14, 2017, Canisius has now won back-to-back games over Iona for the first time since Jan. 18 and Jan. 29, 2007.
• Canisius closed out the 2017 calendar year with an 18-18 record.
• Crumpton’s 24 points on Sunday marked his sixth 20-point game of the season. He has now scored 20-or more points in a game 19 times in his career.
• Crumpton moved past former Griffs guard and Canisius Hall of Famer Brian Dux for 18th on the school’s career scoring list. He now has 1,261 points in his time on Main Street.
• Molson is averaging 19.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in his first two career MAAC contests.
• Johnson was credited with a game-high five assists in the win for the Griffs, the 25th time in his career where he’s been good for five-or more assists in a game.
• Reese saw his string of games with multiple steals end at six, but he did record one steal in the win – the 27th time in his career where he’s recorded at least one steal.
• Sanks made three 3-point field goals on Sunday. He is shooting 56.3 percent (9-for-16) from behind the arc in Canisius’ current four-game winning streak.

Up Next
The Griffs will return to action on Friday, Jan. 5, when the team plays at Quinnipiac in its first road MAAC game of the season. Tipoff in Hamden, Conn., is set for 8 p.m.

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