Courtesy of GoGriffs.com
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Canisius senior Jermaine Crumpton recorded a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds and sophomore Malik Johnson also recorded a double-double with 15 points to go along with his career-high 10 boards, as the host Golden Griffins beat Fairfield 81-63 Monday night in the Koessler Athletic Center. The win, Canisius’ fifth straight and 14th in its last 16 outings, improved the team to 18-9 overall and 12-2 in MAAC play, while the Stags fell to 10-15 on the year, 5-9 in MAAC action.
The win moves Canisius into a first-place tie atop the MAAC standings with Rider, who was idle on Monday night. Both teams have identical 12-2 league records, but the Griffs hold the tie-breaker for now thanks to a 77-76 win over the Broncs back on Dec. 29 in Buffalo. The victory also moved the team to 10-2 in the Koessler Athletic Center this season, the fourth time the Blue and Gold have won 10-or more games in the KAC since 2000-01.
Crumpton’s 21 points came after he shot 9-for-15 from the floor and 3-for-5 from 3-point range. He also dished out three assists, blocked two shots and recorded a steal in 35 minutes of action. Johnson’s 15 points came after he went 5-for-11 from the field, 3-for-7 from 3-point range and 2-for-2 from the free-throw line. In addition to his 10 boards, he also dished out three assists, grabbed two steals and was credited with a blocked shot, his third blocked shot in the last two games. Freshman Takal Molsonadded 16 points and five boards to the winning cause, while senior Selvedin Planincic and sophomore Spencer Foley each chipped in eight points. The Griffs shot 46.2 percent from the field, 37.5 percent for behind the arc and 81.8 percent from the free-throw line in the victory, while out rebounding the Stags by a 43-32 clip.
Fairfield led Canisius 47-45 with 18:14 left to play before the Blue and Gold went on a 21-2 run over the game’s next 7:52, with Crumpton accounting for nine of the Griffs’ points during that time period. And while the Griffs’ offense got going, their defense picked it up as well, as Fairfield shot just 33.3 percent from the field in the game’s second half, including an 0-for-9 effort from 3-point range. Canisius also out rebounded the Stags by a 25-11 clip in the game’s final 20 minutes of play.
Three Fairfield players scored in double-figures in the loss, led by reserve forward Wassef Methnani, who had a team-high 18 points. Senior Tyler Nelson, the MAAC’s leading scorer at 21.6 points per game, was held to 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting, and Jonathan Kasibabu posted 12 points and two rebounds before fouling out of the game with 3:39 left to play.
Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Postgame Comments
“I thought that for the first 25 minutes or so, we didn’t play hard enough. Fairfield brought the fight to us. That was good, because it forced us to lock in and play harder. Once we started to play with effort and energy, things started to fall into place for us. We have to learn how to play hard all of the time. This league is unique because everyone has a style, and everyone from top-to-bottom executes. But you better be ready to play hard from the start, because everyone goes into every game thinking they are just one or two possessions away from beating you. This type of game, and the one we had Saturday [against Quinnipiac] have been good teaching tools in that regard for us.”
• Monday was the 84th meeting between these two Jesuit schools, with Fairfield leading the series 47-37.
• The win allows Canisius to match its win total from last season, when the team went 18-16 overall.
• This marks just the third time in program history where Canisius has won 12 or more MAAC games. Canisius had 14 league wins in 2013-14, and 12 MAAC victories in 1993-94.
• The 43 rebounds are the most for the Griffs this season.
• Canisius hit 12 3-point field goals in the win Monday, the 61st time the Griffs have 10-or more 3-point makes in a game since the start of the 2012-13 campaign.
• Monday was Canisius’ 500th MAAC regular-season game since joining the conference in 1989-90.
• The 21-point effort for Crumpton gives him 20-plus points in 10 games this season and 23 games in his career. He also extended his streak of scoring in double-figures to 23 games.
• Johnson matched a career-high with three 3-point makes, and all 10 of his rebounds came off the defensive glass.
• Six Canisius players recorded multiple assists in the win, led by Planincic, who had a game-high four.
Canisius will start a three-game MAAC road swing on Friday, Feb. 16, when the team travels to play at Monmouth in West Lawn Branch, N.J. Game time is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN3. The radio call will be available on Buffalo’s WECK 1230-AM and 102.9-FM, GoGriffs.com and the TUNEIN app.