Courtesy of GoGriffs.com
Albany, N.Y. – Quinnipiac freshman guard Rich Kelly’s driving lay-up with 10 seconds gave the Bobcats a three-point lead and two late misses by Canisius at the final buzzer proved to be the difference as seventh-seeded Quinnipiac knocked off the second-seeded Golden Griffins 72-69 Friday night in the MAAC Basketball Championship quarterfinal round in Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. The win allows Quinnipiac (11-20) to advance to the MAAC semifinal round on Sunday, while Canisius sees its 2017-18 season come to an end with a 21-11 overall record.
Canisius senior Jermaine Crumpton posted a double-double in the loss for the Griffs after he recorded 22 points to go with 11 rebounds. Sophomore Isaiah Reese had 13 points and eight boards, while freshman Takal Molson added 10 points and six rebounds. Canisius shot 44.6 percent from the field, but made just 5-of-20 attempts from 3-point land and turned the ball over 16 times, which resulted in 21 points for Quinnipiac.
Senior Cameron Young scored 17 points for the Bobcats, while Kelly finished the night with 16 points and five assists. The Bobcats shot 44.4 percent from the floor, 34.5 percent from 3-point land and 77.8 percent from the free-throw line in the victory, hitting 14-of-18 chances from the stripe. Canisius went 58.3 percent from the line, connecting on 14-of-24 chances from the line.
Canisius led by 10 at 52-42 with 12:56 left to play after Crumpton grabbed one of his eight offensive rebounds and put the ball over the rim. That basket would be the Griffs’ last points for the next 3:53, as the Bobcats ripped off 10-straight points to tie the game at 52-52 with 9:03 left to play. The game would remain tight for the next few minutes until Quinnipiac’s Jacob Rigoni nailed a 3-pointer from the far corner with 4:54 left to play to give the Bobcats a 61-58 lead.
Quinnipiac led by six at 68-62 with 1:21 left to play before a pair of free-throws by Crumpton and a lay-up by sophomore Malik Johnson got the Griffs within two at 68-66 with 50 seconds left to play in regulation time. A traditional three-point play by Crumpton with 36 seconds left on the clock made the score 70-69 in favor of Quinnipiac, but the Bobcats pushed that lead to three at 72-69 with 10 seconds left on Kelly’s driving lay-up. Canisius had three chances to score in the final 10 seconds but came up short as the final horn sounded.
Head Coach Reggie Witherspoon’s Postgame Comments
“I thought Quinnipiac deserved to win, and we did not. I give them a lot of credit for playing harder than us. They played free, and we played not to lose. We didn’t play the way we normally play. We had three guys record an assist tonight, that’s not our brand of basketball.”
• This was the 11th all-time meeting between the two schools, and the first in the conference tournament. Canisius leads the series 7-4.
• This was the Griffs’ 53rd MAAC Tournament game since joining the conference in 1989-90. The Griffs are 25-28 all-time.
• Canisius is now 3-3 all-time as the second-seed in the MAAC Championship.
• The Griffs’ 10 assists on Friday were a season low.
• Crumpton extended his streak of scoring 10-or more points in a game to 28 straight.
• Johnson had seven assists in the loss, the 33rd time in his career where he’s been credited with five or more assists in a game.